UK’s first skytyping display marks VE Day

The UK’s first skytyping display has been conducted, to mark VE Day and pay tribute to frontline workers.

Messages such as We Will Meet Again and Thank You were etched in the sky above Henstridge airfield in Somerset.

The display was commissioned by the Department for Transport, which recently introduced a law change to allow skytyping and skywriting to take place.

VE Day 75th Anniversary
One of the messages read “we’ll meet again” (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The techniques were made illegal in the UK in the 1960s over safety concerns, but are used in many countries such as the US, Australia, France and Spain.

Skywriting was inadvertently discovered by an RAF pilot during the First World War, when oil accidentally entered a plane’s exhaust, creating dense, white smoke.

According to the DfT, skytyping, which involves smoke being emitted in a series of bursts, was not conducted in the UK before Friday’s display in Somerset.

VE Day 75th Anniversary
The display was commissioned by the Department for Transport (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Victory in Europe Day will always be a landmark in British history and it is an honour to have commissioned the first skytyping display in the UK to mark the occasion.

“With its strong British history, stemming from the creation of skywriting, it seems an entirely fitting way to honour all those who fought for our freedom while also thanking those keeping the country moving during this challenging time.”

Countryside charity CPRE has previously warned that allowing skytyping and skywriting would “rob” people of the “regenerative” benefits of a rural walk.

The DfT decided that benefits such as creating jobs for pilots and inspiring children to take up a career in aviation outweighed any negatives.

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