It sounds like a plot point from a movie titled American Pie: The Naval Academy Years, but it actually happened — the U.S. Navy had to apologize because one of their airplanes was used to create a giant contrail penis in the sky of Okanogan County, Washington.
In many coming-of-age movies, an authority figure has to apologize for the young protagonist’s inappropriate and tasteless actions, and the apology sounds so straight-laced that it becomes funny in context. The Navy’s official statement on the matter has pretty much the same effect:
“The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable.”
I have questions (of course I have questions!):
- Can we make “dongtrails” the official word for this kind of skywriting?
- Planes — especially Navy planes — aren’t like cars. You can’t just take one out for a spin without informing someone; you have to file a flight plan specifying where you’re taking off from, the route you’re taking, and where you’ll land. What kind of flight plan was filed for this jaunt?
- While the act shows terrible judgement and reflects poorly on the Navy, drawing a giant sky penis does require some precision flying, including a hairpin turn. I’m not saying that the people involved should go undisciplined, but perhaps their skills could be channeled towards better, constructive, and even tasteful directions.