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Inkjet Skywriter

Plane-towed rasterising array for 'inkjet'-style skywriting/murals
  [vote for,

Ever seen those message banners in tow behind small planes? Even less common is skywriting (I haven't seen an example of the latter yet). How about the ultimate inkjet printer, making full-colour messages and even murals in the sky?

An aerodynamic apparatus consisting of lightweight computer, ink/pigment hopper, and expandable inkjet array would be towed into a clear sky by small plane, in the same fashion as a glider. At the flick of a switch in the towplane, the array would unfold and expand outward into a 20-30 metre wide boom, with inkjet nozzles every metre or so along the boom. A small compressor in the main unit would drive varying amounts of CMYK 'ink' (coloured vapour) into each nozzle at predetermined bursts, according to the aircraft's speed. The boom would have winglets at each tip to provide aerodynamic stability while the message is created - which would be a banner approximately 30 'pixels' high.

After the message is complete, the boom would retract, and the towplane would fly to a non-urban area and jettison the apparatus - which would deploy a parachute. The apparatus would then be retrieved by a ground support crew.

Adze, Apr 24 2005

Skytyping - dot matrix skywriting http://www.skytypers.com/skytyping.html
Same idea but bigger and monochrome. [Basepair, Apr 24 2005]


       very FJish.   

       a compliment!
po, Apr 24 2005

       There is or was a skywriting company (at least one) that uses dot-matrix methods. They fly a number of planes in parallel and software releases the puffs of smoke at the appropriate times. It's a bit unwieldy, as it needs several (?can't remember how many, but at least 5?) planes. On the other hand, I don't think a 20-30metre wide swathe would be worthwhile - you need something bigger.
I'll see if I can find a link.
Basepair, Apr 24 2005

       See link. I suspect that it's not so easy to produce coloured smoke on the necessary scale - the white smoke seems to be made by burning oil (? injected into the exhaust?).

The letters these guys write are several hundred metres tall. I suspect that anything smaller would disperse too quickly (and perhaps be obliterated by the aircraft's own turbulence).
Basepair, Apr 24 2005

       Cool, thanks for the link, [Basepair]. Shame about having to use 5 planes but the scale of their stuff is impressive.
Adze, Apr 24 2005

       [Basepair], they have a comparison chart of cost vs reached audience showing this to be the most effective advertising medium for the money.
I wonder how much to fly over the Potomac & skytype "God want's Social Security left Alone!".
I already voted for this, but the picture in link just re-confirmed my opinion.
Zimmy, Apr 24 2005

       //comparison chart showing this to bethe most effective advertising medium for the money//

I would guess that all advertisers have a chart showing theirs to be the most effective medium; this is in the nature of advertising. But still I liked it :-)
Basepair, Apr 25 2005

       From another skywriting idea on HB: "The oil sky writers use is Texaco Canopus 13 (which used to be called Corvus oil and is used to help release concrete from wooden forms) it is supposedly non-toxic."
bristolz, Apr 25 2005


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