The sky's the limit: 8 times pilots have traced shapes in the air

From sketching hearts to kangaroos, several pilots around the world have managed to show off their artistic skills at 38,000 feet

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Earlier this week, Qantas retired its final Boeing 747 jet after five decades of flying the jumbo.

As it departed Sydney for Los Angeles, flight Q7474 spent a few minutes flying over the Australian city's eastern and western suburbs, dipping across the aviation museums and navigating over the Central Business District and harbour.

While this may have been to give Australians the chance to catch one last glimpse of the storied aircraft, the flyby also served another purpose.

Captain Sharelle Quinn, who was Qantas' first female captain, was in command of the final 747 flight, and was carefully manoeuvring the aircraft to expertly trace out the shape of a kangaroo – the airline's logo – in the sky above the city.

FlightRadar24 shared a playback of the crew's efforts which resulted in an almost perfect replication of Australia's national animal.

Impressive as the drawing is, it's far from the first time that pilots have dabbled in a bit of sky art.

In December 2017, an Emirates A380 pilot got into the festive spirit on a flight over Germany. The world's largest passenger aircraft took off from Hamburg and cruised above 40,000 feet while flying an alternate flight path. The Emirates jet carved out the shape of a Christmas tree in the sky, complete with festive baubles.

Scroll through the gallery above to see more examples of pilots showing off their artistic skills.

Love is in the air

An Air Malta pilot carved two interlinked love hearts in the air over the Mediterranean. Courtesy FlightRadar24

A couple of years prior, a loved-up pilot from Air Malta traced two hearts in the sky over the Mediterranean, shortly after marrying his wife in a celebration at Malta International Airport.

Pilots have also gotten creative by tracing out the shapes of flags and the outlines of jets. And while it's not the most environmentally friendly method of getting from point A to point B, with a jet as a paintbrush, the sky really is the limit for the world's airline pilots.


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