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Skywriting Pilot Replicating Stamp Image Linked to Lindbergh
CHINO, CA — The U.S. Postal Service’s new Love Skywriting Forever stamp image will be replicated by a skywriting pilot linked to iconic aviator Charles Lindbergh at noon on January 7 following the 10 a.m. PT First-Day-of-Issue ceremony that takes place at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, CA.
The event will stream live on the Postal Service’s Facebook page. Customers are asked to spread the news using the hashtag #LoveStamp.
“The Postal Service issued its first Love stamp in 1973, and over the years, these stamps have dressed up billions of birthday greetings, wedding invitations, birth announcements, and, of course, Valentine’s Day cards and letters,” said U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David Williams. “From the moment they’re spotted on an envelope, these miniature works of art foretell good news. And with this particular stamp, we can really say, once and for all, that ‘love is in the air’ — and in the mail.”
Scheduled to join Williams at the ceremony are Operation Gratitude Vice President and Chief Development Officer Chris Clark; Skytypers President Stephen Stinis and Planes of Fame Air Museum aviation historian and Air Museum moderator Kevin Thompson. Skytypers CEO and Squadron Commander Greg Stinis will fly the skywriting demonstration and be available for media interviews when he lands at 1 p.m. PT.
The stamp art depicts the word “Love” written in white cursive script against a blue sky studded with wispy clouds. The edges of the letters are just beginning to blur into the surrounding sky. Underlining the word is a decorative swirl of smoke that emphasizes the message. A small, stylized plane, dwarfed by the giant letters, completes the end of the swirl, with smoke trailing from its tail.
This new issuance is a cheerful and romantic continuation of the U.S. Postal Service tradition of creating stamps that celebrate love. The Love Skywriting stamp will add a sweet, romantic touch to letters and cards, not only on Valentine’s Day, but all year round.
The Lost Art of Skywriting
Skywriting had its heyday as an advertising medium from the 1920s to the 1950s, promoting everything from soft drinks to bikinis. Messages are created by a small airplane that emits vaporized fluid from its exhaust system to form letters in the air. Still used occasionally for advertising slogans, skywriting more commonly broadcasts romantic — and very public — declarations of love.
“I think it’s safe to say more people have walked on the moon than are professional skywriters today,” said Greg Stinis, who began skywriting more than 50 years ago while working for this father, Andy Stinis, who started the company in 1932, and whose plane hangs in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
The Lindbergh Connection
“My dad was friends with Charles Lindbergh and helped him push the Spirit of St. Louis onto the runway for his historic 1927 New York to Paris solo flight. Like Lindbergh, my father also flew mail for the Post Office Department. He flew mail for 20 years in his amphibious Mallard aircraft to Walker’s Cay in the Bahamas.”
The Five Square Mile Palette in the Sky
On January 7th after Stinis takes off from the Chino Airport in his Grumman Tiger (AA5-B), his search to find a five square mile palette in the sky will take a half hour as he searches for a turbulence-free altitude to avoid distorting the writing. The sky paint will be an environmentally safe paraffin-based liquid that is injected into the exhaust manifold before passing through the plane’s 3-inch diameter exhaust pipe to mushroom to a 60 ft. diameter vapor.
To replicate the stamp image the “L” in Love will be 6,000 ft. tall with the remaining letters at 2,000 ft. tall each. To be legible from the ground from Stinis’ perspective, he will have to write upside-down and backwards. His “pen” will scribe between 135 mph and near stall speed as he makes the tight curly elements in the letters. The skywriting will take about 10 minutes to complete. He will not have enough liquid to create the swirl below the word as depicted on the stamp image. Once completed the word should be visible for 20 miles.
“I’ve created more than 2,000 skywritings in 50 years, and this one will be one of most challenging because the letter “L” is three times the size of the others and in script. I usually create block letters, so the timing and visual cues and maneuvers are new. Time is against me. Once I start I can’t stop writing or the whole message will blow away.”
Louise Fili of New York City designed the stamp illustrated by Jessica Hische of San Francisco. Derry Noyesof Washington, DC, was the art director. The Love Skywriting stamp is being issued as a Forever Stamp. This Forever Stamp will always be equal to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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