PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – Residents of the greater metro Atlanta area may have noticed a special symbol over the city’s downtown recently.
That evening a group of local RV pilots took to the sky to create a giant heart using trails of smoke.
The pilots represent the Falcon RV Squadron, which is made up of retired military pilots, as well as those from the commercial and civilian aviation industries.
They all fly homemade aircraft, named RVs after the initials of inventor Richard VanGrunsven.
Squadron member Randy Sage told ConventionSouth they usually fly individually or at events such as 4th of July celebrations, high school graduations, and sporting events.
Recently, they had been making flyovers near area hospitals, but were inspired to go even further by a video of a similar effort made by pilots in Kansas City.
“We got the idea of actually making a heart, instead of just a straight pass by the hospital,” Sage explained. “So I sat down and sort of drew out the rough sketches.”
Squadron pilots practiced for about 10 days to “refine the shape and make things look better from the ground,” he said.
In all, 12 planes were involved in the process, with four on the ground providing backup if needed.
While forming the heart, the pilots were flying at about 5,500 feet, Sage said.
The purpose of the act was to show appreciation to local essential workers, especially medical personnel who are serving through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gesture has drawn plenty of positive feedback, he added.
“We’ve been getting quite a good response, with a lot of Facebook messages,” he said.
Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch said the show was “amazing to watch,” and believes it is “spectacular” to know people out there are putting in good work in the local community.
“I believe in times of high stress and anxiety is where gestures, big or small, start to mean a little more. We’re seeing it happen all over our community, be it mask and food donations, prayer services, or just any way people can think of doing their part,” Fleisch said. “What’s amazing about these heart formations is a symbol turns into a selfless act of compassion for our community, healthcare workers, and first responders.”