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VIDEO: How Does a Small Plane Pick Up an Ad Banner?

Odds are pretty good that you have seen a little Cessna 172 high above you at the beach hauling an advertisement banner in tow. But have you ever wondered how exactly the process of attaching that banner to the aircraft works? Does the pilot just take off with the banner dragging down the runway? Is the banner deployed at some point in flight? Actually, the answer is way cooler than you would ever think.

Sammy1Mason recently posted a great video that breaks down the awesome procedure of attaching a banner to an aircraft. The process starts with the aircraft already in flight, and the banner waiting for it on the ground. The banner is attached to a cable which is suspended by two vertical poles parallel to the runway.

To pick up the banner, the pilot must “dive” towards the poles in pretty dramatic fashion. Just before snagging the cable, the pilot must then pitch up to reduce speed as the banner is dragged into the air. Once everything is hooked up, the banner trails the aircraft by about 300 feet. Attaching the banner may not be as difficult as snagging the arresting cable on an aircraft carrier, but it sure looks like it takes some time to master.

While the process to attach the banner to the aircraft is pretty awesome, the process to get it back on the ground is pretty simple. The pilot lines up with his intended target and releases it, hoping the wind doesn’t force it too much off course.

 

1 comment to VIDEO: How Does a Small Plane Pick Up an Ad Banner?

  • TC

    At Perry Airport (KHWO) in Hollywood (Pembroke Pines), FL, they used (in the 70-80’s) to have an operation of banner planes that flew along the beach and around specific events. It is a dangerous profession and there have been a few crashes in doing the pick-ups. I remember being fascinated on how the planes were able to avoid stalls in doing this operation. Sadly, I moved away from there years ago; I believe they have moved to another airport that is not as well developed around it.

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