Sky Writing with MotionX™-GPS

Del Olson has been flying a 1949 Cessna C-140A airplane and using MotionX-GPS in a very unique way. He has been skywriting with the GPS track! Here are a few pictures, his track details and an account of his most recent flight.


“Del Olson” written in the sky using MotionX-GPS

John T and Del Olson (on the right)spacer 1949 Cessna C-140A

del-john2 1949cessnac-140a3



Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps.

Del’s account of GPS-Skywriting -written by Del Olson

When I flew my Cessna C-140A using MotionX-GPS to go GPS-Skywriting, there were precautions needed for safe flight. Primarily, it is most important to keep a constant visual clearing of the airspace that will be used for flying. This would be the same as when doing basic training air-work, clear the area before making any turns. The second is communications with any local airports and listening on the radio for any activity and equally important, perform this air-work in an area that is not considered a high traffic area. Also, it is important to maintain safe altitudes. This was done between 1200 feet and 1400 feet above the Ground (AGL). You will notice a large air field at the end of my name. It is an abandoned military airstrip and not available to land on.


MotionX-GPS is the perfect application for my iPhone and was a natural match due to my enthusiasm for technically advanced things. John has an approved FAA GPS unit for the airplane that we use when navigating to locations, waypoints and general use. It works well, however, after I started using your application, I immediately said someday I am going to do some skywriting using this device and view it on my computer. I have not seen any postings online nor have I heard of anyone else doing this. It is also great to have a visual track to see how my flight was flown and the straightness of the flight path; kind of like grading my flight after I have landed and reviewing my time flying.


I felt empowered when writing my name across the large area as if the space above the earth was my new media to create my message. During this flight, I thought of the large ancient symbols on earth that some think are meant as for viewing from space and wondered if anyone watching on radar, or other means to monitor flight might be thinking. I decided to write my name as my first designed art form. My name has always been important to me as I live on a street that was named after me by my Mother in 1946 when I was two years old. It was a family property and now has turned into one of the most popular streets in the City of Turlock and the main entrance to California State University Stanislaus.


On the GPS track, it was difficult to make the small letter ‘o’ look correct and it kind of looks like the letter ‘e’, however, I have planned on how I can make it better next time. A neat feature you provide when reviewing the track, is what I call the “odometer” distance feature. My flight was 104 miles which included some flying before I went GPS Skywriting. I couldn’t believe that I had that much fun flying 104 miles and staying close to home. That would be difficult to calculate any other way other than looking at the large smile on my face during the flight and after when I saw the results. Thank you MotionX!