In December, we unveiled the WestJet Magic Plane, a custom-painted Boeing 737 with a special Walt Disney World-themed paint job, featuring Sorcerer Mickey. Since the Magic Plane first took flight, it has travelled throughout our network, bringing guests to a variety of destinations including Orlando, Los Angeles, Cancun, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, San Jose del Cabo, Zihuatanejo, Turks and Caicos, La Romana and Varadero. When touching down in Canada, it has spent the bulk of its time in Calgary and Toronto, but has also made appearances in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Regina, Victoria and Edmonton so far.

Wherever the Magic Plane flies, it captures the attention of our guests and other people who are in and around the airport. We’ve seen a lot of photos on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr, and even a few YouTube videos from plane spotters around North America. If you happen see it during your travels, be sure to snap a photo and post it to your favourite social media sites with the #MagicPlane hashtag.

A few days after the Magic Plane’s inaugural flight to Orlando, we had the opportunity to send it up for an air-to-air photo and video session with our friends at Wolfe Air. The result is this video, filmed over the badlands near Drumheller, Alberta.

This isn’t the first time we’ve done an air-to-air photo session with one of our aircraft, but it’s definitely one of our favourites. We hope you agree!

To help ensure we make the most of our time in the air, Wolfe Air’s LearJet 25 has cameras custom-mounted on the nose and top and bottom of the fuselage to help capture high definition video and photos. The inside of the cabin is full of gear to record the flight, and a handful of experienced crew members are on board to run the equipment.
Wolfe Air film equipment
The two aircraft maintain constant radio contact while flying between 15,000-18,000 feet, which is an ideal altitude to maintain visual flight rules (VFR) and frequently change headings to see the plane in different light. Special modifications to the LearJet, and special operational procedures, allow the two aircraft to get much closer than would normally be possible. Of course, skilled pilots on both aircraft ensure everyone stays safe.

Magic plane from Wolfe Air chase plane
Shawn and Dzung from the WestJet Creative Services team were fortunate to be on board this particular flight, and described what it was like to ride along in the LearJet while chasing the WestJet Magic Plane.

Shawn said he was “most impressed with the teamwork and the communication, both amongst the Wolfe Air team in the LearJet and with the WestJet pilots flying the 737. There were two pilots on both aircraft and one did the flying while the other controlled the radio. The second LearJet pilot acted as a film director, calling various shots and coordinating with his camera crew and the WestJet pilots. He even had a little monitor on the dashboard so he could see exactly what the camera was filming.”

“The Wolfe Air crew was very professional and were always on the spot when they called for a particular shot,” said Dzung. “You could tell they’ve done this a lot and executed the plan to near perfection. It was very cramped inside the plane, with so much equipment everywhere, so it wasn’t easy to move around, but they were everywhere they needed to be, getting the footage that was required.”

Both Shawn and Dzung were envious of the technology that enabled the filming, and were impressed with the LearJet’s nimble handling.
Wolfe Air Remote filming
“It was kind of like being in a powerful sports car, zipping around a limo that is cruising down a very wide highway,” said Dzung. “The Magic Plane flew at a constant speed, on a more-or-less straight line, but we were constantly accelerating or decelerating while flying up, over and all around it.”

“At the same time,” Shawn added, “the camera crew worked their remote controls to ensure the RED 4K camera was always pointed in the right direction, focused on the Magic Plane and capturing these amazing images. It was so cool to watch it all happen.”

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  • danshier

    Super neat! Always wondered how those aerial shots were done :)

  • Daniel Faria

    Westjet has always had my respect and admiration.

  • James Boettcher

    Great article Greg! thanks for sharing!

  • dkwood

    Lets hope that this is not going to be Mickey Mouse Airline.

  • dkwood

    I am not amused or impressed. This is bad for the brand name and image. I”ve been to Disney World with my kids and we enjoyed it very much, but I do not like advertising which is aimed at children. Who is next to be painted on the side? Coke, Pepsi or some Las Vegas Casino… Not every one gets a warm fuzzy feeling about the Mouse reaching in your pocket to rob you in broad daylight. What’s next to be painted on? Why not some far eastern mantra about us all being one and will soon achieve cosmic harmonic convergence.

  • R Campbell

    Are you an executive with Air Canada? Disney has been aimed at children since Oct 16th of 1923, it’s a childrens company. WestJet has been Caring for guests since Feb 29, 1996. The relationship between these 2 companies is abundantly obvious, THEY CARE, about people and they about how they are treated. Might I suggest that you lighten up a bit, go back to Disneyland…. on the #magicplane for that matter…. have some fun and re-find your inner child.

  • dkwood

    Definitely not an air Canada fan. Please no cheap shots about being an Air Canada Exec. I’ve been a WJA-T owner (shareholder) since Westjet was less than 10 bucks a share and didn’t pay any dividend. I recognized the value long before it became a popular stock. The value is in its people and in its product. I do not like the brand “cheapened” by Disney or any other American Corp. There is no such thing as a “childrens company”. There are Corporations owned by adults, who market to children. I really don’t care what the Marketing Gurus say, in the long run it will be bad for the Westjet Brand and bad for the business. Who’s going to be next? The marxist revolutionary Che Guevara: a very popular martyr and easily recognized. You can’t get a better paint scheme than the Westjet Logo. Not all the marketing schemes, no matter how carefully researched, are good for business in the long haul. Perhaps the Westjet logo could be rebranded with some modern flairs, but why mess with something that is already well received in the marketplace?

  • gradschooldude

    A nice counterpoint to the stories coming out of Russia and Sochi. Hope I get to fly the #MagicPlane when I travel west in May.

  • Dan Wardlaw

    dkwood, have one thing to say and please don’t take this the wrong way. My parents always taught me “If you don’t have anything nice to say about some one, keep your trap shut.” In other words, grow up, if you see something you don’t like, keep your trap shut, why spoil things for other people that’s just being ignorant, obviously you do not have the facts straight about why they painted it,

  • dkwood

    You are being a little bit obtuse or blunt when you ask me to keep my trap shut.. My comments were in reference to the Disney Marketing Plan and not directed at one in particular. Westjet has always been a strong Canadian company with Western roots, and I hope is not being Americanized. I hope your parents taught you to stand up for what you believe in. You could enlighten me as to why they painted it. I never spoke ill of anyone in my comments, other than Mickey, but then he is only an imaginary character.

  • CarlySimon

    ….

  • CarlySimon

    dkweed

  • dkwood

    CarlySmack …….. Ouroboros…….||

  • dkwood

    SimpleSmack ……

  • Patti Deby

    As a WestJetter and shareholder I am proud of this partnership… Disney doesn’t partner with just anyone. Must admit I LOVE the paint job. I doubt there will be many of these in WestJets fleet. But this is an amazing paint job and two amazing companies partnering to spread the wonder of Disney.

  • Patti Deby

    We take our Jobs, and Safety seriously, but not ourselves. :) Don’t worry… there are no plans to change our culture dkwood… That’s what WestJet is built on.

  • dkwood

    I agree, it is a terrific paint job, but several other airlines have already had Disney Theme paint jobs done. (One of them flies out of SeaTac and also has B737 and Q400s) The theme no doubt appeals to a segment of your customers. I do not see how it enhances the Westjet brand. I am not interested in the “Magic”. Most of your destinations are not the Magic Kingdom. I would have prefered a strong Canadian theme over an American Brand. As the Westjet partner, what does Westjet gain from the arrangement? Other than enhancing the Disney image.

  • dkwood

    Cultures always evolve with time, if they didn’t we would still be using the horse and buggy. The Westjet culture is know for its friendly and caring people. Corporate needs to work on what it means to care. “Owners care ” says nothing about who,what, or who they care for, or why it matters. Fancy slogans do not always translate into the mind of the buying public. The service with Westjet has always been top notch, but Westjet has to be aware that the industry of air travel is constantly changing and evolving. Those who adapt or lead the cultural shifts will survive.

  • curt mclean

    just wanted to know if you would work with in the west Indies or just help kids only in USA?

  • dkwood

    Yes Absolutely would love to work with in the west Indies or just help kids only in USA. I hope this answers your question.

  • curt mclean

    ok, patty so i guess you work or own part of west jet? I want to know if you only work with the big organizations or do you work with everybody?

  • mdmh

    Dogwood, auto-correct karma, you troll.

  • mdmh

    Funny.

  • baileeboo

    West. jet needs to be more Canadian not promote Disney World, no scenery Canadiana to adorn their aircraft, oh well, West Jet seems to be losing it’s luster and definitely they are pricing themselves to reap great profits, not like the little airline from the West anymore…..

  • Me

    Shall we brand a plane with Maple Syrup, Beaver Tails, and the Bluenose then? :)

  • Me

    Just curious – you took your kids to Disney. How did they hear about it? By reading off of a flying object 40,000 feet above them?

  • Guest

    Why are all of your comments negative? Why not look at the bright side?

  • baileeboo

    Why not Canadiana, your not proud of our country, our symbols. We have to emulate a USA theme park, wow, how sad…….
    Maybe we could use a colleague of ME

  • dkwood

    Don’t be silly. There are many great Canadian themes they could have “Capitalized on”

  • dkwood

    Saying it is a terrific paint job is not negative. Why couldn’t they have painted a womens hockey theme of mens curling theme. You know, something with a real Canadian Cultural theme. It shouldn’t be all about the Mouse and his “Magic”. Which is just about a Large Corporate Money Grab.

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