A KC-135T Stratotanker based at the 171st Air Refueling Wing at Pittsburgh International Airport takes off at sunset. (Photo submitted by Ryan McManus)

Photos of the Week: California Dreamin’

Airplanes have been around for more than 100 years and most people see one flying overhead at least once a day.

Yet they still have the power to spark imagination and wonder. An airplane always represents possibilities, a pathway to exotic locales and new experiences. Even the aircraft itself remains sort of mystifying to those of us who aren’t engineers: how does that huge object fly so high so fast?

Ryan McManus’s photo of a KC-135T Stratotanker based at the 171st Air Refueling Wing on Pittsburgh International Airport’s airfield catches one of those huge objects in silhouette, giving it an even more mysterious air. The fuselage is a blank canvas on which you can paint whatever your imagination can concoct.

This blank canvas—set against a glorious sunset—takes us to the West Coast, home of the sunset. Sort of.

In 1995, Southwest graced a Boeing 737-300 with its “California One” livery, a custom (and pricey) paint job featuring the iconic grizzly bear and red star from the Golden State’s flag.

That aircraft was retired in 2017, and the livery was applied to a 737-700 a year later. It made an appearance at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in March and Joe Daverio was there to snap a shot of it.

Now all we need is for Southwest to take one of those Boeing blank canvases and imagine … Pennsylvania One.

Thanks, Ryan and Joe!

Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming—you can click here for submission guidelines.

Southwest’s “California One” Boeing 737-700 makes a stop at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in March. (Photo submitted by Joe Daverio)

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