Giant Electric Sign Is Carried by Plane (Apr, 1940)

Giant Electric Sign Is Carried by Plane

Called the largest of its kind in the world, a flying electric advertising sign is suspended beneath the lower wing of a large transport plane. Designed to be read at an altitude of 3,000 feet, the sign is of the “traveling” type—complete sentences travel across its face in moving letters as lights are switched on and off by means of an intricate control mechanism installed within the plane fuselage. A motor-driven, 4,500-watt generator supplies the necessary electric current to light the 1,000 lamps of the flying billboard.

  1. Stannous says: October 12, 20074:20 pm

    The machine looks to be a very early sort of computer, no?

  2. JMyint says: October 12, 20076:26 pm

    Back in the late 70’s a company had a simular set up near where I lived. One night when walking home I could swear I saw a flying saucer, until it got directly over me and I could read it as a ad for soda.

  3. Rick Auricchio says: October 13, 20078:57 am

    There was one of these that flew in the San Jose, CA area in the early 80s. I too was puzzled till it got close enough to read.

  4. Rick Auricchio says: October 13, 20078:59 am

    I should clarify that it was a more modern version of the system shown here. A friend said it was controlled by a MOS Technology KIM-1 evaluation board running a 6502 microprocessor, but I never investigated the claim.

  5. MaggieL says: October 13, 200712:47 pm

    The light array for a smaller version of this gadget used to be stored in the back of an old hangar at Perkiomen Valley Airport (N10) back in the 1980’s. Dunno if it’s still there…

  6. KHarn says: March 2, 20086:11 pm

    I think that’s a Stinson Tri-Motor bi-plane. Today we think of bi-planes as being small one or two seaters, but it’s surprising how big some of those things were.

Submit comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.