Home Travel Air Artists & Pilot Picassos: Using Flight Tracking To Make Drawings In The Sky

Air Artists & Pilot Picassos: Using Flight Tracking To Make Drawings In The Sky

by SharonKurheg

When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn NY, we used to go to Coney Island every weekend in the summertime. A big thrill when I was very young was to see the planes towing advertising banners in the sky. My bigger thrill was a couple of years later, when I could read the banners for Coppertone, Pepsi etc. all by myself ;-). We used to see skytypers (5 or 6 planes at 10,000 feet, putting out timed puffs of smoke to form a message that looked like they’re from a dot matrix printer) at Coney Island too, but not as often.

Meanwhile, down here in Florida, we see a considerable amount of skywriting, not so much for product advertising but usually of a religious nature (they use all that aviation fuel, just to tell me that Jesus loves me?).

Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 5.31.20 PM

Some planes use technology to provide a different kind of artwork in the sky. Using flight tracking programs, pilots can take specific paths to “draw” designs in the sky. You can’t see the “drawings” in the sky, of course, but can if you look at flight tracker sites such as flightradar24 and FlightAware. These are some of the more interesting ones I’ve found:

Meanwhile, CloudAhoy, which is a post-flight debriefing tool for pilots, student pilots, and flight instructors, had a contest in 2017 to see whose air art could gather the most votes. Here’s what these creative pilots did: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3

And finally, if you have an interest in seeing how they plan these things, I found a “How To” video that’s an interesting watch:

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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