Way back in 1922 an Englishman by the of John C. Savage who hired Captain Cyril Turner to skywrite "Daily Mail" over England and "Hello USA" over New York. In 1924 Savage received a U.S. Patent for “Method of producing advertising signs of smoke in the air” (US Patent 1,489,717). Lucky Strike Cigarettes first used skywriting for advertising shortly thereafter, but the Pepsi Cola Company became the first company to use skywriting for an advertising campaign. Pepsi employed a pilot by the name of Andy Stinis to skywrite for them for over 20 years, from 1932 through 1953, flying a Travel Air D4D aircraft featured here. Three future giants in the aircraft industry, Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, and Clyde Cessna, came together as young aviation enthusiasts in Wichita, Kansas, to build the Travel Air. How Is Skywriting Accomplished? Skywriting is accomplished by heating parafin oil to 1500 degrees with the aircraft's engine exhaust enabling the pilot to create white letters against a blue sky. The letters are typically 1 mile high, take about 1 to 1 and 1/2 minutes to create, usually last about 20 minutes and can be seen for 30 miles. What Kind Of Message Is Most Common? One company in New York skywrites over 50 marriage proposals each year in over New York City, and many messages are written in the sky along beaches on the coasts of the United States or at air shows during the summer. My Vacation In Orlando On Sunday my wife and I were walking outside and, to our delight, watched a Stearman skywriting over the resort we are staying at. The message was a religious one - "Jesus Loves U" - apparently written every Sunday over Orlando and paid for by a local businessman. The pilot must have been using a gps to make such perfect letters. Photo by greencolander Another Great Career If you have ever flown a Stearman you will never forget the experience. It is a wonderful open cockpit airplane with an incredible history. Widely used during WWII as a trainer, many of these aircraft can still be found in roles like skywriting and agricultural application, banner towing, glider towing and aerobatic demonstrations at air shows. It is a great way to build a unique business of your own while providing a great service for many love-struck males about to make the biggest commitment of their lives! To learn more you should get Flying Airplanes: For Fun and Money! (A Practical Guide to Becoming a Professional Pilot) which is a great read! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 My mansion is, where those immortal shapes Of bright aerial spirits live insphered In regions mild of calm and serene air, Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot Which men call Earth. — John Milton, 'Comus,' 1634. ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!
by John M. White •