Airborne commercials have been on the run since the 1920s. They often come as stripes pulled behind airplanes or zeppelins, but even painted messages in the air are not uncommon. This phenomenon is called skywriting, a pilot writing a message viewable from the ground. With a special mixture of paraffin oil, the pilot sprays out the smoke during the flight. The type of message being written in the sky can vary, for instance commercials but also private ones as greetings or even marriage proposals are not so uncommon. One company in the USA sprays over 50 marriage proposals in the sky each year.
How long does the message remains?
For single words it is possible to use a single aeroplane, which can write up to six characters. For longer messages up to thirty characters it is possible to coordinate five to seven planes that write the sentences visible at once. This method was developed from one of the worlds most famous skytypers, Andy Stinis, who flew for Pepsi-Cola from 1931-1953. The aerial message does not stay that long in the sky because of the wind and the dissolution of the smoke, but methods have been generated to withstand winds, prolonging the time of the messages visibility. Learn more about writing messages in the sky in the next part.
The inventor of skywriting
Major Jack C. Savage (1891-1945), held as the inventor of the skywriting, was an English pilot of the First World War. In 1922 he equipped a military SE5a with two long exhaust pipes under the wings, and injected the oil into the them. The airplane is now exhibited at the Science Museum in London. Savage was also the inventor of aircraft-mounted search lights, the so-called Leigh Lights, which were successfully used in the Second World War during submarine hunting. For some more information about where to come in contact with a company that “writes” messages in the sky visit www.airads.co.uk.