Banner Towing?


#1

When I’m at BLM during the summer, you can bet there will be banner towing going on. It’s a pretty amazing sight seeing the planes come within probably 5 feet of the ground then climb. I am wondering, is there anyone out there who knows just how the banner towing works? I know there is a “wire” hanging from the back of the airplane, with I guess some type of hook on it? Anyone know what type of hook and how they release the banner? I believe I looked on Google a while ago but didn’t find anything. Here is a picture: flightaware.com/photos/view/4004 … ate/page/1
flightaware.com/photos/view/4004 … ate/page/1


#2

pjakma.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/banner-towing/

faa.gov/library/manuals/avia … faa-fs.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9pdWFlvQec)


#3

Basically, there is a tow hitch mounted to the tail of the aircraft, which is both the attach point for the grapple hook/cable and a release mechanism.

The grapple cables are attached to the tow hitch and the cable is run up the side of the aircraft, with the hook hanging in the door and the cable tied off on the strut with an easy to release knot. Multiple grapple hooks are common.

The pilot grabs the hook, pulls it to untie the knot, and throws the hook out and back. Voila!

After the pickup and flight the pilot releases the grapple hook and cable from the tow hitch using a cockpit mounted lever and starts the process over again.


#4

BINGO we have a winner.

I have about 500 hours towing banners. We used to have triple hooks. If you were good (I was ok) you could drop one banner at 75’, throw the hook, level off at 20’ and pick up the next one all at once. No go around. I could do it about 60% of the time.

Basically the tow rope had a loop at the end and you would support one side of the loop between two pools about 10’ apart and 10’ off the ground. Fly about 90 kts just over the poles then a full power climb till you felt the banner tug you and then level off. You would still be doing 60 kts or so and could cruise with the banner behind you and 15 flaps at around 65 kts.

You did the rapid climb to avoid dragging the banner and damaging it.

Wow lots of memories. Used to pull 100’x75’ billboards with a C150 with a 180HP engine. Thing could pull a house into the air.

As far as the banners always flying right side up that’s because the lead pole (as in leader of the race) which the first letter attaches to (all the rest of the letters attach to each other) is weighted at one end. Occationally a lead pole will get tangled in the tow rope (bad ground crew set up) and banner will fly upside down. There is also a tail kite or chute, usually white so you don’t see it. It is the same size as the letters but is split in the front to allow air through, it keeps the banner from cork screwing in the air.

TAIL KITE

Hope that answers all your questions


#5

Paramount is the primary banner puller at the Jersey Shore John: paramountair.com/

Not that many years ago they were renowned for picking up and dropping off their banners from fields in the median of the GSP down around mile 30.

Search YouTube for them to see some interesting videos.


#6

I live all year round at the Jersey shore so I see Paramount all the time. This year so far, they’ve only crashed 3 times!!!
:smiley:


#7

Thanks for the pointer. Man that’s some wild flying. :open_mouth:


#8

Thanks for all the info. But I have one more question. Sometimes I see a plane or 2 (type escapes me, but I think it might be a Bird Dog) with a hook like the one at 3:00 in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7OE12K1vtU) Is there a certain reason for this set-up?


#9

I just found this video, which I think is pretty good. Especially since it is right out of BLM. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=envpl1OYk0w


#10

In the first video, it features a cub or super cub. The second features a bird dog and some kind of cub. Not sure about the hook…


#11

[quote=“TheVetteAvenger”]
I just found this video, which I think is pretty good. Especially since it is right out of BLM. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=envpl1OYk0w

Check out the dudes ADI :54 into the vid. looks like for sure he’s a VFR airplane. Don’t know what the FAA would do to a 135 operator with a broken ADI in a VFR only operation…[/quote]


#12

Banner towers aren’t 135 operators.


#13

[quote=“flyboy97222”]

[quote=“TheVetteAvenger”]
I just found this video, which I think is pretty good. Especially since it is right out of BLM. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=envpl1OYk0w[/quote]

Check out the dudes ADI :54 into the vid. looks like for sure he’s a VFR airplane. Don’t know what the FAA would do to a 135 operator with a broken ADI in a VFR only operation…

Appears to be on the takeoff roll, very low airspeed. I believe the aircraft in question has a venturi system for the gyros, so it won’t start working until the aircraft is moving at takeoff speed.[/quote]


#14

Good catch. Hadn’t thought about venturi.


#15

Bingo first plane was a Super Cub and second was a Bird Dog. I know because I was flying the Cub :smiley: