Handpainted 737 Honors Humpbacked Whales
What is it with whales, and
airplanes? First it was "Shamu", of Sea World fame, painted on a
series of Southwest 737s. Next came the Airbus A380, a plane some
refer to (either fondly, or derisively) as the Whalejet. And now
comes Aloha Airlines, which unveiled this week a Boeing 737-700
aircraft hand-painted by marine life artist Wyland.
In a traditional blessing ceremony, Aloha bestowed the name
Koholalele on the jetliner, which will go into service on May 10
between Hawaii and the West Coast.
The name Koholalele (which literally means "flying or leaping
whale") honors the humpback whale, an ancient visitor to Hawaii,
considered by Hawaiians to be a kupuna, or elder, in its own right.
Koholalele also is a place name for an area along the Hamakua Coast
of the Big Island and the name of a wind that "leaps over the land"
like a flying whale.
Each of the eight aircraft in Aloha's fleet of Next Generation
Boeing 737-700 aircraft is named for a Polynesian navigator. The
name Koholalele recognizes the humpback whale as one of the great
navigators of the ocean.
"Since 1946, Aloha Airlines has
proudly served the Islands, and graciously helped share Hawaii's
beauty, culture and spirit of Aloha with the world," said David A.
Banmiller, Aloha's president and chief executive officer. "Over the
years, Aloha has looked beyond the business of flying to recognize
the importance of giving back to our community, and preserving the
many things that make Hawaii so special. The 3,500 men and women of
Aloha Airlines care about the well-being of our home state, as well
as the beauty of the natural land and sea environment we enjoy so
Wyland's design, which spans the length of the
plane, includes approximately life-size depictions of humpback
whales, bottle-nose dolphins, spinner dolphins, tiger sharks,
Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles as well as Hawaiian reef
fish and a Laysan albatross.
Wyland (shown at right) painted N748AL, working day and night,
over a two-day period.
A pioneer in the environmental movement for more than 30 years,
Wyland previously painted an America's Cup racing yacht but this is
his first plane. Back on land, the famous muralist has completed 95
of his ocean murals and is closing in on his goal of creating the
100th of his landmark Whaling Walls, a massive, pre-Olympics
project being planned in Beijing.
Aloha says it undertook the project as a symbol of the
community's commitment to preserving the ocean environment. The
carrier has served Hawaii for 61 years.