A project of the Social Practice Lab at the Asian Arts Initiative
Given the forecast of rain & clouds for Saturday, #WriteSky is postponed due to weather. On top of that, someone vandalized my Save the Date invitation!!! Oh, I suppose that was me.
Thanks for your interest & support – I’ll continue to communicate with the sky-typing team to secure a date this summer. It’s a bummer, sure, but weather has always been an inherent risk of the project. The upside of high risk is high reward, and I look forward to sharing the poetic messages that Friends of the Rail Park, FACTS, Roman Catholic High School, Hive76 and the Artist group of Jaime, Sarah and Mary have prepared for Philadelphia!
The perfect day for skywriting is very particular. Primarily, we’re looking for it to be nice sunny day. After that, it gets more technical.
Surface wind has to be less than 15 knots crosswind, and winds at 10,000 feet (where skywriting occurs) must be under 35 knots (40mph). If it’s windier, than any message written in clouds will be blown away too quickly.
Cloud cover must remain at less than 3/10th of skyy coverage, with surface temperature remaining above 40 degrees Fahrenheight and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in effect for the entire route of the flight. This is for two reasons. First, if the pilots have limited visibility, they will not be able to fly. Second, if it’s too cloudy, then we on the ground won’t be able to see man-made clouds against the backdrop of natural clouds.
For these reasons, skywriting is typically performed in the afternoon when the weather is most stable. So that’s the how: for Write Sky, when will we know for sure?
The sky-typer and I have a check-in scheduled for Friday morning 5/9, when we will both take a look at Saturday’s forecast and determine we have a chance to hit the right conditions. This is the first call. If we move ahead here, the second decision point is Saturday morning 5/10. The sky-typer will confirm the weather conditions, and track radar to see current cloud cover over our target spot. By 10am, he will have to decide if he will fuel up his fleet of planes to do the sky-typing job, or if he will keep the planes light in order to execute the Air Show at Maguire Air Force base in New Jersey.
Long answer short, Friday afternoon is our first check, and Saturday morning is our second. If the particular conditions are settling in, then all thunderbirds are go! Easy, right?
Counting down to May 10, let’s sneak a peek at the messages, and the groups that crafted them.
Bringing you the first message is Friends of the Rail Park. Their message refers to the progress and labor associated with the now 10-year old project to bring a Rail Park to this neighborhood, and to Philadelphia.
Friends of the Rail Park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization advocating for the preservation and reuse of the 9th Street [Reading Viaduct] and City Branches of the former Philadelphia and Reading rail line as a 3-mile linear park and recreation path traversing several neighborhoods and connecting to Fairmount Park.
We’ve picked a date! #WriteSky will imprint the uncommon messages of five neighborhood groups into their common sky on Saturday, May 10 (weather permitting). Between 11.30a-12.30p, make sure you’re in a spot with a good view of the sky. All 3 messages will be written over the Callowhill/Chinatown North/Eraserhood, and can be visible up to 15 miles away.
Each day this week, I’ll be featuring one of the 5 groups that have worked to bring you these messages. Stay tuned!