Saturday, August 23, 2008

Banner Tow Pilots

This summer we were at Myrtle Beach, SC, and I was amazed again by the banner towing pilots. Along the beach, their job looks pretty simple (although probably a hot one). Back at the North Myrtle Beach (Grand Strand KCRE) airport, their job looks a little more interesting. I believe the business we were watching was Barnstormer's Aerial Advertising.

Coming in with a banner or picking up a new one, the job does not look to bad. Similar to landing.



Then they drop the banner.

The next part is what looks interesting. They go full power and a steep climb near stall. The FAA recommends a climb at 1.2x the stall speed until about 250' AGL. There are a number of reasons for this maneuver. They also remark that most of the accidents are involving stalls during banner pickups which does not seem to surprising after watching it.


The plane they used was a simple cub. It was interesting they pulled the cowling off. I guess for extra cooling while going slow.


The FAA has a informational manual for banner tow operations. It is interesting reading especially if you have seen the procedure up close.


I looked on youtube and found a couple of videos which show towing operations pretty well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NFci4qefjs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1Btytu1bAI

/Brian

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hiya Brian, I can tell you that flying at 400`AGL at 50/55 kts on a plane with a banner being towed is not that simple. Specially on those hot windy days with the big banners on the back.

Cheers

Moshe said...

Hi Brian, I am trying to find out if my Cessna 177 Cardinal will coop with bill board towing: it has about the same cabailities of cessna 172. do you know anyonw who tow banners with cessna 172 or 177 or anything similar? cheers, Ron

Anonymous said...

Brian, you should stick to your computers and your Cessna. This is highly dangerous and extremely challenging work at the ragged edge using equipment that is usually years beyond its useful life. You would be amazed at the accident/fatality rate. The part the tourists like you see is the easy part. Get a clue.

alex said...

Ive been flying banners for 3 years..pretty simple..I fall asleep all the time at 40-45kts..really tired of it... Just waiting to lose a engine at 500ft

Anonymous said...

Anon, you are the one who should get a clue. Not a single a accident or fatality in the NTSB data base for years or longer. Stick to something you know, like croche.

Hermilie Smith said...

What a great experience of the aerial banner towing means totally great and fantastic I am just imaging that it would be so amazing and adventurous too.

Thomas Finelli said...

Banner Towing is a fun job! I have been doing it, on and off, for twenty three years. It can often become very uncomfortable in the airplane, especially after a few hours when you realize you drank too much coffee before take-off! However, if you are burned-out from instructing and simply want a fun Summer job, consider towing banners. You'll meet a lot of fun people who truly love their job, and you'll learn a lot about fuel management, crab angles and airplane performance. Contact me at Aerial Sign North, and we'll talk about getting you started in this fun job! - Tom Finelli, CFII / Banner pilot