WASHINGTON, 15 May 2019:
A prank by two junior officers with the “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron 130, who had sky time to kill back in 2017, turned out to have far-reaching consequences as the contrails up high lasted long enough for people to view their artwork from the ground.
What disciplinary action was taken against the unnamed duo remains unknown, reported Navy Times, but the squadron was quick to alert higher-ups. “Aircrew manoeuvred an EA-18G aircraft in a pattern that resulted in contrails depicting an obscene symbol when viewed from the ground,” it warned. “Media attention is expected.”
Earlier on, the pilots had flown a distance away from their artwork, snapping pictures on phones – which they would later delete.
Cockpit recordings revealed the pilot saying: “Dude, that would be so funny. Airliner’s coming back on their way into Seattle, just this big ***ng, giant penis.
“Some like Chinese weather satellite right now that’s like, ‘what the (expletive)?’”
But quickly recovering from their laughter, the pilot said: “Soon after, I realised the extent of our actions. That the contrails were remaining longer than predicted.
“We needed to take steps to try to obfuscate it. I flew one pass over it essentially trying to scribble it out with my contrails. That pass was ineffective.”
Low on fuel, the jets had to return to base – and the pilots confessed to their actions.