Aircraft Carrier  |  The Film | Synopsis | Gallery  | Theme | Making the Film | The Production | Where to See It  |  Links

Aircraft Carrier 3D


The Film

Set against the stunning panorama of the world’s largest international naval exercise, Aircraft Carrier immerses audiences in action-packed air operations aboard a city-sized Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Created for giant screens by the director of Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag and Rocky Mountain Express—Aircraft Carrier is captured in 15/70 motion picture film and ultra high-definition digital 3D.


Aircraft Carrier 3D focuses on the world of naval power and the astounding activity and air operations aboard a giant Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan. The film presents authentically, the true scale and drama of carrier and fleet naval operations to giant screen audiences for the first time.

Viewers find themselves aboard a carrier alongside some 5,000 highly skilled sea and air personnel in the midst of a giant war simulation as part of the vast Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) training exercise. With the participation of 22 nations and more than 50 ships and submarines, 200 aircraft and 25,000 military personnel, a RIMPAC exercise is an astounding experience. Aircraft Carrier puts audiences in the center of the action.

The film reveals the remarkable inner workings of the giant carrier via live action coverage and engineering visualizations, and features aircraft such as the F-35C Lightning, the F35A, as well as the F-18 Super Hornet, and the Osprey. The film depicts the ships of many navies and highlights the range of roles played by naval and air power in a complex, turbulent world: from deterrence to aerial combat and special ops, to piracy prevention and support for humanitarian assistance.


Protecting and defending the world’s oceans has become exceedingly complex and challenging in the 21st century. Naval aviation is considered vital to patrolling the seas and being able to intervene in critical situations across the globe. As described by its organizers, the RIMPAC exercise is a training event geared to fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. At the heart of RIMPAC and its naval and air operations is a giant Nimitz-class aircraft carrier—a high-technology air platform and floating city of remarkable capability.

About the Carrier. The USS Ronald Reagan sailed on her maiden voyage in July 2003. Currently based out of homeport San Diego, the carrier serves the Seventh Fleet headquartered at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, in Yokosuka, Japan—part of the United States Pacific Fleet. Nuclear-powered, the carrier has an unlimited range and houses a ship’s company of 3,200 along with an air wing of some 2,480 personnel and some 90 aircraft (fixed wing and helicopters).

Making the Film

Principal photography for Aircraft Carrier began with extensive coverage of the massive Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in July 2014 and continued through 2016. The film also incorporates unprecedented aerial scenes captured by the production crew on and around the USS Ronald Reagan, a US Navy Nimitz-class super carrier, during exercises 100 miles off the coast of southern California. The onboard crew captured 3D scenes of intense flight activities including night launches and landings as well as POV shots from the cockpit of F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets in flight.


Aircraft Carrier had its World Premiere at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, May 24, 2017 with release in IMAX and other giant screen theaters immediately following. Aircraft Carrier is available in both 43-minute and 24-minute versions and in IMAX® laser / 12.0 and in all digital 2D and 3D formats.

Filming onboard the Nimitz class carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
Members of the crew of carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the aerial photography team for Aircraft Carrier pose on deck during refuelling of the Spacecam-equipped helicopter. The team were filming over a hundred miles out to sea and needed to land on the carrier both for fuel and to reload film every three min of camera running time. In purple are fuelers. In yellow is a ‘shooter’ tasked to launch and recover aircraft from the flight deck… Including the production chopper.

The Production

  • Release: 2017
  • World Premiere: May 24, 2017 – Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC
  • Produced by: K2 Communications Inc., The Stephen Low Company and Giant Screen Films Inc.
  • Distributed by: K2 Communications Inc. and Giant Screen Films Inc.
  • Capture: filmed in 15/70 motion picture film and Ultra-high-definition digital 3D
  • Length: 43-min. and 24-min versions
  • Formats: available in IMAX® Laser / 12.0; all digital 2D and 3D formats


  • Written and Directed by: Stephen Low
  • Produced by: Mark Krenzien, Pietro L. Serapiglia, Andy Wood
  • Executive Producers: Robert Kresser, Stephen Low, Don Kempf
  • Editor: James Lahti
  • Cinematographers: Tristan Breeuwer, Stephen Low, Ron Goodman
  • Stereographer: Sean MacLeod Phillips A.S.C.

Where to See It

Theater Listings

Launching theaters are listed below. For up-to-date listings and links to exhibiting theaters for Aircraft Carrier visit: Theater Listings (on the official film site).

Launching Theaters

Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Washington, DC, USA
Phone: (202) 633-4629
Show end: May 2019

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Chantilly, VA, USA
Phone: (703) 572-4118
​​Show end: May 2019

National Infantry Museum
Columbus, GA, USA
Phone: (706) 685-5800
Show end: May 25, 2018

Kansas Cosmosphere
Hutchinson, KS, USA
Phone: 800.397.0330 ext. 347
Show end: November 28, 2017

​Henry Ford Museum
Dearborn, MI, USA
Phone: 800-747-4629

New Mexico Museum of Space History
Alamogordo, NM, USA
Phone: (575) 437-2840
Show end: December 31, 2017

​​Hastings Museum
Hastings, NE, USA
Phone: (402) 461-2399
Show end: June 7, 2018

Pink Palace Family of Museums
Memphis, TN, USA
Phone: (901) 636-2362
Show end: June 22, 2018

​Clark Planetarium
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Phone: 385-468-STAR
Show end: June 15, 2018

​National Naval Aviation Museum
Pensacola, FL, USA
Phone: (850) 308-8963​
Norfolk, VA, USA
Phone: (757) 664-1000

Air Force Museum
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, USA
Phone: (937) 253-4629

USS Lexington Museum on the Bay
Corpus Christi, TX, USA
Phone: (361) 888-4873​

Singapore Discovery Place
Singapore, Singapore
Phone: +65 6792 6188

​Virginia Air & Space Center
Hampton, VA, USA
Phone: (757) 727-0900
Show start: TBD

​​​​Museum of Flight
Seattle, WA, USA
Phone: (206) 764-5700
Show start: TBD

Mariners’ Museum and Park
Newport News, VA, USA
Phone: (757) 596-2222
Show start: TBD