Pilot leaves messages in the skies A giant heart hangs in the sky at sunset after skywriter Nathan Hammond wrote several days-worth of messages, relating to hope and love, over New Orleans, during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (AP photos)
Pilot leaves messages in the skies
Lexile

High above New Orleans, a small plane rolled in tight barrels, trailing smoke to create inspirational messages: smiley faces, peace signs, hearts and words like "jazz," "amen" and in a true testament of flying ability "transform."

Over seven days of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, a skywriter inscribed smoky messages that captivated the hundreds of thousands gathered below.

New Orleans entrepreneur Frank Scurlock conceived the idea and hired skywriter Nathan Hammond to pen the fanciful, fleeting art.

Scurlock, whose family runs a bounce castle manufacturing and rental company, said the messages were simply his way of reminding people that goodness can still flourish in a world that seems increasingly marred by violence.

"This is just a simple way for people to just look up in the sky and say 'Wow, what a great world that we live in,' and a chance to believe and have faith in not only today but in the future," he said.

Hammond flew his plane down from Kentucky for Jazz Fest, which ran for seven days over the course of two weekends.

"We're out here just kind of spreading the love, over the top of New Orleans," Hammond said. He said he generally does commercial work for a company or an event, with the occasional request for a marriage proposal. But Scurlock's request was completely different. The entrepreneur hired him for 10 days, three flights a day.

Hammond has to keep his wits and spelling about him when he's flying in tight loops or barrels. He estimates the letters to be about a mile tall, although they could stretch up to 10 miles, depending on the message.

On the ground, festival-goers were transfixed.

"I've seen him all week. I've taken pictures of him every single day and enjoyed him and wondered who did it. Every time they would start a word, we'd try to figure it out before they finished what it is," Mary Mouton of New Orleans said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is Nathan Hammonds work referred to as fleeting art?

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COMMENTS (17)
  • romanj-Orv
    5/12/2015 - 04:23 p.m.

    this is an amazing idea for things people can do in the future, for example people can do this on holidays. imagine your a mother and you walk out of the store and you see happy mothers day in the sky. imagine the joy that people get when they see that. i think this idea should be kept in the future.

  • NickB-2
    5/13/2015 - 12:35 p.m.

    This article is about a skywriter. At the Jazz and Heritage festival in New Orleans this week, skywriter Nathan Hammond wrote inspirational words and phrases like "Jazz", "Amen", and "Transform", seen by hundreds of thousands of festival-goers. He was hired by Scurlock to fly for 10 days, with 3 messages per day. People on the ground love it. I think this is pretty cool, and wish I could see it in person.

  • jacobf-1
    5/13/2015 - 06:29 p.m.

    In the New Orlean's sky, Nathan Hammond has been flying his plane and leaving messages in the friendly sky. Examples of his work include smiley faces, peace signs, and hearts. New Orleans entrepreneur Frank Scurlock hired him to fly three times a day for ten days. He wanted a where are you to remind people that goodness still lives in the world not just bad. I think this was a very creative idea.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    5/14/2015 - 10:51 a.m.

    Super cool! It would be crazy to see words written in the sky in Newport, since we are such a small town, but I love the idea of it. I can almost imagine it becoming a new kind of art people crave.

  • azaylag-Koc
    5/14/2015 - 03:37 p.m.

    I think that the messages they write in the sky are cool. I think they refer to it as the fleeting art because it eventually fades away slowly. And not anyone can do it , you need to practice .

  • KiraWvA-4
    5/14/2015 - 09:08 p.m.

    Nathan Hammond, skywriter, was employed to make art three flights a day for the ten-day New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He and the crowds enjoyed the smiley faces, hearts, peace signs, and words like "jazz" and "transform" that he drew, each about a mile high. The pilot says "the messages were simply his way of reminding people that goodness can still flourish" in a terrorist-strewn, hate crime filled and money driven world. There is a bittersweet quality about people who love the world and yet are overwhelmed by the people who don't or just are flat out horrible to it (thanks, Shell, for Antarctica). And yet it is a small gesture of peace and love, and I like it for that.

  • AAlexandra-Cas
    5/15/2015 - 09:23 a.m.

    Nathan Hammonds work referred to as "fleeting art" because his messages were simply a way of reminding people that goodness can still flourish in a world that seems increasingly marred by violence. Nathans work makes peoples days sometimes, and they enjoy seeing his pictures in the sky.

  • GigiSylvester-Ste
    5/16/2015 - 12:16 p.m.

    This is so cool! I want them to make one that is visible from my house! I wonder how long the message will be visible before it fades away?

  • yarelyo-Koc
    5/17/2015 - 11:41 p.m.

    I like seeing when people do that. I would like to know how to do it . If it makes people happy why not do it . I would enjoy doing it and looking at them .

  • raymondb-Koc
    5/18/2015 - 12:26 a.m.

    I've always found sky writing an interesting thing, because it's never used to promote negative aspects, it's always used to convey something positive. it's common for marriage proposals to incorporate sky writing as a shock compared to the ordinary "Will you marry me?'. This man doesn't fail to express a positive message as well, I found his word choice interesting, especially "jazz" because jazz is an overall smooth and positive feeling genre of music.

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