Gulfstream has taken the notion of skywriting into the 21st Century.

Astute aircraft watchers using flight tracking software, FlightAware, have captured the Savannah, Georgia-based business jet manufacturer spelling out an aircraft name, GV, at 40,000ft (12,100m) and 487kt (900km/h) airspeed across the upper Midwest portions of the USA on 6 February. The cursive took more than 8h to complete.

Far from being an environmentally insensitive publicity stunt, Gulfstream says the flight had a valid purpose – to “cold soak” the newly built large cabin jet. It was likely the aircraft was a G500, an aircraft previously known as the GV.

GV skywriting W445

Test pilots take newly finished aircraft, in this case from Gulfstream’s Appleton, Wisconsin, completion facility, up and away for large chunks of time to make sure everything fits properly for extended duration at high altitudes and low temperatures. The “GV” route, apparently, is used on a regular basis for those proving runs.