CORVALLIS, Ore. – Horizon Air and Oregon State University debuted a Bombardier CRJ-700 on Tuesday at Portland International Airport with a snappy new look: OSU orange and black, complete with school logos and the Beaver artwork so familiar to legions of OSU athletics fans.

Hordes of travelers, Horizon Air employees, OSU officials and Benny the Beaver gathered at a Horizon Air gate for the celebration, which included a cake decorated with a finely detailed image of the plane. Benny entertained members of the media on hand to cover the event, hamming it up on the tarmac, crawling into the plane’s cargo hold and mugging for pictures.

For Horizon, the plane is the third of four that they’re decorating with colors of prominent Pacific Northwestern schools in the Pac 10. In recent weeks, they also introduced planes painted with Washington State and University of Oregon colors and soon will roll out a University of Washington plane.

Beaver fans – including no small number of OSU alumni who work for Horizon Air – were delighted by the new Oregon State plane, the paint job for which was so intricate that it was the only one of the four that required the graphic artist who designed it to be present throughout the aircraft’s lengthy transformation.

OSU officials handed out Beaver decals, bracelet bands and candy as passersby gathered around the gate to get their first look at the plane, which immediately went into service.

A subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, Horizon Air is the leading carrier at Portland International and offers dozens of flights daily out of Seattle, Pullman, Wash., and Eugene, ensuring that the Beaver plane will be seen by many travelers every day.

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.