Love may be just a four-letter word, but it’s long enough to cause headaches for a skywriter.
Taking off about an hour late for the highlight of last Saturday’s first-day-of-issue ceremony for the U.S. Postal Service’s Love skywriting stamp, pilot Greg Stinis climbed to about 10,000 feet over Chino Airport and drew a cursive “L” more than 3,000 feet high. Then he moved on to the “o” and “v.”
By the time Mr. Stinis started the “e,” the “L” was almost gone, scattered by high-altitude winds.
When the day began heavily overcast, Mr. Stinis was not sure if he would get the chance to write his love note to Chino Valley. Addressing a crowd of about 300 gathered in a hangar of Planes of Fame Air Museum, the chief executive officer of Skytypers narrated a video shot the day before as he practiced writing “Love” above the airport.
After watching Mr. Stinis draw the downstroke of the “v” in the video, the crowd murmured its appreciation when his plane circled around and commenced the upstroke at exactly the right spot.
Mr. Stinis, who has been skywriting for 58 years, said the streets below serve as his orientation points.
By the time the stamp ceremony ended, the sky was clearing and the first of the day’s flights took off. Pilot Mark Moodie climbed into the cockpit of the museum’s Curtiss P40 Warhawk, decorated with the famous shark mouth of the Flying Tigers of World War II, and leapt into the sky.
The Warhawk was the subject of the museum’s monthly flying event, held in conjunction with the stamp ceremony.
Present was U.S. Postal Service chief operating officer and executive vice president David E. Williams. Local officials who attended included Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa, Chino Hills councilman Peter Rogers and San Bernardino County Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman.
Forever Love stamps and canceled first-day-of-issue envelopes bearing the stamp were sold before and during the event. The stamps went on sale nationwide Monday.