There’s pranking your boss, and there’s drawing giant penises in the sky with airplane exhaust. Recently, five peeved pilots decided to do the latter in an attempt to annoy their boss. The NYPD pilots used a $4 million spy plane to draw the aerial mural, and their message was quickly received.
The obscene route was picked up on NYPD flight-tracking software, and once supervisors realized what shape they were making, a report was made to the NYPD brass. The demonstration was in response to a feud the pilots had with Inspector James Coan. As the head of the Aviation Unit, Coan had a large say in what they pilots did. According to the New York Post, the argument began when pilots were ordered to fly at low altitudes in a single-engine Cessna.
Despite the plane being paid for by federal funding, pilots disagreed with the mission. They told Coan that it was not safe to fly over open water in the plane.
“If that [propeller plane] goes, it’s over. You’re going to crash into the ocean,” a pilot reportedly told Coan.
They were sent despite their concerns, and sources say that the flights left them out of range of radios and radars. The pilots made this flight many more times, all while pushing back against their orders. The argument peaked when they took to the skies in protest, drawing a giant penis with their flight routes.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) November 17, 2017
As punishment, the pilots were made to attend a disciplinary hearing. Two were discharged from the unit, where the rest were stripped of their flight gear. Almost all the pilots that complained about the missions were punished as well, being told to clean the plane hangars. According to the Independent, they were even told to wash Inspector Coan’s car.
“Any of the people who complained about the mission — they got the s–t end of the stick,” an unnamed source told reporters. “They had to do all these menial tasks outside their job description, including washing his car.”
As pictured above, these pilots might have been riding the coattails of a Navy incident last year. In November, 2017, an equally phallic piece of sky-art was drawn in the air. The penis was drawn with the air-trails of a warplane, and floated above Washington State’s Okanogan County for several hours. Hundreds of photos were taken, and news of the event quickly went viral.
The Navy pilots responsible for that display were all grounded. Lucky for the NYPD pilots, their act of rebellion was far less obvious, and wasn’t visible to citizens.