A Halifax pilot honoured George Floyd in a unique and unexpected way on Thursday: by using his flight path to draw a raised fist in Canada’s skies.
Pilot Dimitri Neonakis drew the symbol associated with the Black Lives Matter movement to honour Floyd’s memory, as well as in a show of support for the Black community.
“For George,” he wrote on Facebook. “Today I flew this 330 nautical mile flight pattern which took the shape of a movement symbol which I respect and support.”
Neonakis says that he thought of Floyd’s words — “I can’t breathe” — while in the sky, which was a “stark contrast” to the freedom that he experienced while flying.
“I see a World of one race in multi colours,” he wrote. “This is the World I see, and this is my message. End Racism.”
This isn’t the first time that Neonakis has taken to the sky in response to major events; in May, one of his flights was dedicated to Captain Jennifer Casey, a member of the Snowbirds that died in a plane crash outside of Kamloops.
Neonakis said on Facebook that the number 11 represents Casey’s favourite aircraft in the Snowbirds squadron.
Neonakis also flew in the shape of a heart shortly after the Nova Scotia shootings to thank people for their love and support throughout the tragedy.
The pilot’s flights usually range between 250 to 400 nautical miles (460 to 750 kilometers) when he’s creating his sky art, and take about two to four hours to complete.
Neonakis also runs Dream Wings, a program that gives children with special needs the opportunity to ride in the co-pilot seat, completely free of charge.
More protests against the death of George Floyd, police brutality and systemic anti-Black racism are expected to take place in Canada this weekend.