A while back I shot some video and photos of banner towing operations with Beach Banners, based at Craig Airport in Jacksonville, FL. Air-to-air, banner pickups, and photos taken over a few weekends.
This video was shot with the window open so it’s noisy.
The day starts by laying out the banners for the custom messages. Each letter is clipped onto the banner framework to spell it out.
Static banners (those that don’t change) a printed on a large sheet.
Banners are brought to the operations area where they are laid out to be picked-up and, later, dropped. Here we are operating in the grass between the active runway and the taxiway.
The banners a have a wire at the front that is strung between to poles, like a clothesline. The pilot will fly low over the poles dragging the tow line from the airplane to grab the wire. This is successfully done most of the time. You can see it in action below.
The tow wire connects to the back of the plane and has, at the front, a hook that snags the banner wire and a weight to ensure the hook falls down from the plane. Without the weight it would stream behind the airplane higher that the poles. The pilot holds the hook out the window (or cockpit if the plane has a canopy) and drops it as he approaches the poles.
The Piper Pawnee comes in to snag it’s banner. Look closely as the plane nears the ground and you can see the pilot drop the tow cable.
Thanks to Joel and the Beach Banners crew for the opportunity to catch them in action.