Love is in the air; Local pilot writes Mother’s Day message in the sky

Flight path spells “Mom” written in a heart

ROANOKE, Va. – A local pilot flying out of ROA sent all moms out there a Mother’s Day greeting from the skies!

Rick Gillmore set a flight course Sunday morning that, on radar, spelled out the word “Mom” in the middle of a heart.

“We wanted to do something for mothers," Gillmore said. "At first, I was going to write, ‘Hi, Mom,’ but that’s kind of cheesy. My daughter came up with the idea of putting a heart around it, and it ended up the way it is.”

The flight was viewable in real-time using tracking data from by searching Gillmore’s tail number, N171PS. However, Gillmore said his journey was hard to track from the ground.

“I thought no one was going to see it, you can’t really look up in the sky and see me,” Gillmore said. “I knew pilots would see it, but I didn’t know if anybody else would.”

Gillmore took off just after 10 a.m. Sunday morning and returned just before noon.

He has used his airplane to create artwork every weekend this month. Gillmore said he started this tradition after social distancing took effect.

“I was going crazy at home; you can’t fly anywhere because a lot of airports don’t want people coming in from outside,” Gillmore said. “I have to take off and land in Roanoke, so I figured instead of making a circle, I could try and write a word or something.”

In addition to his Mother’s Day message, Gilmore has also charted paths that spelled out the words “hope” and “thanks.”

Love is in the air! Local pilot's flight path spells out Mother's Day message. (WSLS 10)

About the Authors:

Watch Rachel weekdays during 10 News at 5:30, 6 and 7 p.m.