Southwest Airlines 737-700 performs full-power takeoff and stunning low wing wave

  • This Southwest Airlines pilot treated his passengers to a slightly unusual takeoff
  • He first performed a full-power takeoff, followed by a wing wave
  • It’s not common for a commercial aircraft to perform these maneuvers, but the pilot had a special reason for doing so

Published on Jun 17, 2024 at 4:06 PM (UTC+4)
by Andie Reeves

Last updated on Jun 17, 2024 at 6:05 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

It’s not every day that you see a Southwest Airlines plane performing a wing wave.

One lucky plane spotter caught it in action though.

After a roaring takeoff, the Boeing 737-700 gently rocked its wings from side to side.

It’s highly unusual for a commercial plane to perform this maneuver, and it turns out the plane spotter had called in a favor.

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This Southwest Airlines Boeing pilot treated his passengers to a slightly unusual takeoff.

He performed a full-power takeoff followed by a cheeky low wing wave.

It was captured by avid plane spotter and YouTuber Tyler Crandall, and arranged by his best friend, Colin Chambers.

Chambers’ father was piloting the aircraft and, knowing his son and his plane enthusiast friend were watching from below, gave them a show.

How the Southwest Airlines Boeing pulled off two maneuvers in one takeoff

Tyler Crandall works for a major US airline as a First Officer, assisting the Captain in operating the aircraft.

But he isn’t one to leave his work at the door, and spends his free time plane spotting.

So when his friend offered him front-row seats to a mini personal airshow, he jumped at the chance.

And by ‘front-row seats,’ we mean a spot at the fence surrounding the takeoff strip.

His friend’s father was the captain of the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 that day.

He promised the two aviation fans that he would pull off a full-power takeoff and a wing wave for them.

Both maneuvers are usually reserved for special circumstances, such as air shows or bad weather conditions, but the pilot made an exception just this once.

A unique way to take off

A full-power takeoff is when an aircraft uses all the engine power available to take off.

It’s usually performed during adverse weather conditions or on short runways.

Military fighter jets, like the F-16, often use it too.

This results in a shorter takeoff distance and a steeper initial climb, which can make takeoff appear nearly vertical.

This combined with the louder engine noise, stronger acceleration and strong vibrations can make it quite an intense experience for passengers too.

Once the Southwest Airlines plane completed its full-power takeoff, it soared upwards, performing a slow and gentle wing wave.

This non-verbal gesture is a way for pilots to communicate several messages: an acknowledgement, a thank you, a greeting, or a goodbye.

Or, in this case, it was a way for the pilot to flex for his son and friend.

# Tags - Airplanes


Andie Reeves

Andie is a content writer from South Africa with a background in broadcasting and journalism. Starting her career in the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, Andie has a broad portfolio, covering everything from sustainability solutions to celebrity car collections. When not at her laptop Andie can be found sewing, recording her podcast, taking board games too seriously or road-tripping in her bright green Kia.