Pilot leaves messages in the skies
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
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High above New Orleans, a small plane rolled in tight barrels. Behind it trailed smoke to create inspirational messages. They included 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 the smoky messages. They captivated the hundreds of thousands gathered below.

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

Scurlock's family runs a bounce castle manufacturing and rental company. He 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,'" he said. "And a chance to believe and have faith in not only today but in the future."

Hammond flew his plane down from Kentucky for Jazz Fest. The event 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. Occasionally, he receives a request to write a marriage proposal in the sky. But Scurlock's request was completely different. The entrepreneur hired him for 10 days. Hammond made three flights a day.

Hammond has to keep his wits about him when he's flying. That's because his plane is traveling in tight loops or barrels. He estimates the letters to be about a mile tall. Some can stretch up to 10 miles, depending on the message. And he has to be able to spell correctly, of course.

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?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/pilot-leaves-messages-skies/

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COMMENTS (108)
  • Eriku2
    5/12/2015 - 06:48 p.m.

    This article is about a pilot. Not just any pilot but a pilot who left a messege in the sky. The messege he left in the sky was a heart. I think thst it was a good messege and means alot.

  • John0724-YYCA
    5/12/2015 - 06:51 p.m.

    I wish I was in New Orleans because I want to see those signs and take pictures of it because it is not every day you get see messages in the sky and it was very smart to write the letters in the skies to make people feel the world is lovely because these days people are not very thankful. These people write peaceful letters because if I see the people writing in the sky they write like something that is important and I don't even know what they are writing because in California it looks like dots. Also I don't know if this is true but does the letters they write in sky cause air pollution because the letters are something smoky and definitely not the clouds they use.

  • ScarlettR-1
    5/12/2015 - 07:15 p.m.

    I read the article "Pilot leaves messages in the skies". This article is about an entrepreneur who hired a pilot for 10 days to write happy messages in the sky. These messages were to remind people that goodness still exists in the series of violence. The man flies through New Orleans during the Jazz Festival. He writes stuff like hearts, peace signs, smiley faces, or words like "jazz" and "amen". This is so cool. I would have taken a billion pictures if I saw it.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    5/12/2015 - 07:32 p.m.

    I think that it is cool for a pilot to leave a message in the sky which might be a word for his loved one or it might be the message that if they will leave a cloud messages like, will you marry me with somebody's name in the cloud message. Well if a pilot is leaving a message in the skies, I think that the pilot might want to leave a message that he might come back soon and there're many more.

  • APangaro-1
    5/12/2015 - 07:38 p.m.

    A skywriter, Nathan Hammond, flew high above New Orleans during the Jazz and Heritage Festival. He spent time making inspirational messages, including smiley faces, peace signs, hearts, and words like "amen," "jazz," and "transform." Frank Scurlock has the idea to hire Hammond. Thousands of people at the festival enjoyed watching him draw the messages and symbols. Hammond made three flights per day for ten days straight. He estimates the letters to be about a mile tall. I think that someone has to be brave and have pure talent to do something like this, correctly. Hammond was the right guy to hire because he wowed everyone, well at least the people on the ground.

  • JonathanAA-4
    5/12/2015 - 08:22 p.m.

    This article is about how a pilot in New Orleans drew pictures in the sky. They included smiley faces, peace signs, hearts and words like "jazz," "amen" and in a true testament of flying ability "transform." the pilot meant this to be a message of peace and happiness. Large amounts of people saw these signs and were happy. I found this article interesting because i think the pilot did a good thing trying to make people happy.

  • ShahrbanoR-Kut
    5/12/2015 - 08:34 p.m.

    Wow, this is probably going to be really hard to make these pieces of art because of how fast the plane would be going. Its amazing how he does this. I think that if this man keeps doing this, he will inspire somebody else to something good too.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    5/12/2015 - 08:47 p.m.

    I have also seen planes fly and write messages. I think that most people try to find out what they are trying to say before they finish. It is surprising that the messages can be up to ten miles long. The plane must have flown a long time to write the message. I wonder if the smoke will disappear before the pilot finishes writing the message. Pilots usually write the messages on special occasions and I think that the pilot has a good heart to write messages that will encourage people to believe that they live in a good world.

  • Madison4698
    5/12/2015 - 10:31 p.m.

    I feel that this is a very nice thing. To be able to look up into the sky and smile from seeing a heart or a peace sign might make someone's day better.

  • Madison4698
    5/12/2015 - 10:31 p.m.

    I feel that this is a very nice thing. To be able to look up into the sky and smile from seeing a heart or a peace sign might make someone's day better.

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