Sorry, But the Sparkly Plane You Keep Seeing On Instagram Isn’t Real

Dec 18, 2018

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We hate to be the ones to tell you this, but the most extra-looking Emirates plane you keep seeing on social media is… well, not real.

The plane itself is a real live Boeing 777, but those diamonds? Yeah — not a thing. As bling-y as Emirates is, the chance they would shell out millions of dollars on Swarovski crystals or Cartier diamonds is smaller than an having a luxurious first-class experience on Spirit Airlines.

So, how did Emirates come up with the “Bling” 777? Meet artist Sara Shakeel. She’s the brains behind the operation; her art focuses on glitter collages like the Emirates plane and it’s definitely worth checking out. She never thought the picture would go viral.

This got us thinking, though. What if Emirates did put diamonds all over one of their planes? Is it even possible? For this, we turned to my friend and the person who is likely a bigger AvGeek than you, Wallace Cotton.

Diamonds on a plane are definitely possible. Even likely, given the growing market for over-the-top luxury and obscenely flashy airplanes. But you won’t see diamonds on the outside of an airplane fuselage any time soon. Why? Many reasons. Ingesting a diamond into an engine would be catastrophic. The cost would be utterly unfathomable: The version of the 777 flown by Emirates is 242 feet long with a 212-foot wingspan, and good luck figuring out how many zillions of dollars in diamonds that would be.  But above all, there’s a pretty straightforward reason: diamonds are heavy and not particularly aerodynamic.

If the above plane were real, if somehow diamond cutters found diamonds so large (based on the above photo, they look nearly window-sized) and cut them so precisely that they were viable as a part of an airplane fuselage without detracting from the aircraft’s aerodynamics, the plane would face other limitations. Notably, it’d probably need heavily reinforced landing gear and hydraulics not to break under the weight, a more capable wing to lift all that bling, and a very long runway to reach takeoff speed and provide enough distance to slow down anywhere they hope to land, especially if they expect it to operate in the desert heat.

So don’t expect to see an iced-out plane like this anytime soon. But do feast your eyes on Instagram!

Featured Image courtesy Sara Shakeel/Twitter.

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