He might not be a military pilot, but 19-year-old Towson University student Greggor Hines threw his hat into the elite aviation community ring this week when he flew an aircraft over Maryland in a flight pattern that spelled out “F--k COVID 19.”
At the controls of his father’s single-piston Piper Cherokee, Hines gracefully weaved through the air for two hours in a path that measured about 28 nautical miles from end to end and almost 200 nautical miles in all, the Washingtonian reported.
“We’d just got a new compass in the airplane, and I just had to check it out somehow,” Hines told the Washingtonian, adding that he used the aviation app ForeFlight to map out a course that would properly “express how I felt.”
The aircraft tracking site FlightAware picked up the Piper Cherokee’s path over Aberdeen, Maryland, rendering an aerial insult that would make even Pete Mitchell proud.
Military aviation should be champing at the bit to recruit Hines — who told the Washingtonian he got his private pilot’s license last year and has been flying since he was just 9 — even if for no reason other than his ability to follow in the sky-drawing footsteps of military aviators who came before.
In October 2018, high over the Mad Max-ian wasteland that is California’s Salton Sea, a T-34C aircraft belonging to the Miramar-based Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing appeared to be in a holding pattern, looping effortlessly over the San Andreas Fault-based rift lake before continuing on its merry way toward Palm Springs International Airport.
But this was no holding pattern. Much as Claude Monet applied soft, surgically meticulous brush strokes to his iconic masterpieces, so, too, did the pilot of the T-34C deftly weave the aircraft through the sky to reveal an atmospheric tour de force an earth-bound public could admire.
Radar readings first picked up the aesthetically pleasing triumph — a sky penis, which appeared to nestle over the ancient salt deposits of the Salton Sea in the bosom of the Chocolate Mountains.
The Twitter account for Aircraft Spots hurriedly distributed the Rembrandt-esque artistry to the masses, and users made haste to bask in its glow.
“It was surgical,” one user wrote. “Attention to detail is critical in naval aviation,” another chimed in. “God Bless America,” said another.
One year before the T-34C sent thunderous jubilation throughout the populous, an art-appreciating crew of an EA-18G Growler made national headlines by using the aircraft’s contrails to craft a penis in the skies over Washington state.
The two junior officers, who were assigned to the “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron 130, never anticipated their craftsmanship would linger in the sky for that long, but the world had taken note, seeing what the pilots had made, and behold, it was very good.
The aircraft’s video system recorded the riveting dialogue between the Growler’s two crew members as the act unfolded, the transcript of which was obtained by Navy Times last year following the service’s investigation into the incident. Some of the noteworthy comments from the aircrew include:
• “Draw a giant penis. That would be awesome.”
• “I could basically draw a figure eight and turn around and come back.”
• “Dude, that would be so funny. Airliner’s coming back on their way into Seattle, just this big f--king, giant penis. We could almost draw a vein in the middle of it too.”
• “Balls are going to be a little lopsided.”
• “Balls are complete. I just gotta navigate a little bit over here for the shaft.”
• “It’s gonna be a wide shaft.”
• “Oh, the head of that penis is going to be thick.”
• “Oh yes, that was f--king amazing.”
It may have been amazing at the time, but young Greggor Hines, who had his college year interrupted by the pandemic quandary in which we are all currently mired, just set the bar significantly higher.
Asked if he has any future sky drawings planned, Hines told the Washingtonian “Maybe. I’ve thought about it. I have to think about something else.”
You know what to do next, Greggor...
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.