A Bombardier C-147A flown by the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team takes off. The C-147A debuted with the Golden Knights in 2018. (Photo submitted by Simon Brown)

Photos of the Week: Showing Off

We write about liveries quite a bit in this feature, and for good reason. They are the primary visual branding for airlines and the first thing you notice about an aircraft.

Every airline has its own distinct look, color palette and approach to painting its planes. But airlines aren’t the only ones who want to catch your eye and stand out from the crowd.

The U.S. military has a long history of decorating its aircraft, whether to intimidate the enemy, personify the crew or to let everyone know just how special it is.

The Golden Knights fall in the latter camp.

The U.S. Army’s official demonstration and competition parachute team was formed in 1959 and gained its iconic moniker a couple of years later. Since then, the men and women of the Golden Knights have earned nearly 4,000 medals in competitions and set nearly 400 world records.

A group that distinguished isn’t jumping out of just any plane. They use two types of aircraft — a C-147A and a UV-18 DeHavilland Twin Otter — heavily modified for their unique mission.

And as you can see in Simon Brown’s photo of the Twin Otter, they come with distinctive liveries as sharp and eye-catching as a sky-diving soldier.

Commercial airlines know that a cool livery carries as much branding potential (if not more) than a standardized paint job and have explored creative ways to capture their essence while remaining true to their brand.

In Alaska Airlines’ case, they honored their namesake state with a custom livery on a Boeing 737-9 MAX they’ve dubbed “West Coast Wonders,” featuring the orcas that frolic off the coasts of the Last Frontier.

Demond Gowder snapped a close-up shot of this beauty from the ramp when it visited Pittsburgh International Airport recently.

Thanks, Simon and Demond!

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.

Alaska Airlines’ “West Coast Wonders” 737-9 MAX at Pittsburgh International Airport in May. (Photo submitted by Demond Gowder)

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