Banner Towing Planes

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Taggg, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Taggg

    Taggg Filing Flight Plan

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    What airplanes make the best banner towing planes? I own an advertising agency and have a need for one several times a week. Plus with plenty of commercial pilots in my area I am exploring the possibility of buying one, any advice? I would not mind using it to get my intrument ticket in it as well.
     
  2. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    Piper Pawnee, Piper Super Cub.

    I've seen 150HP, C-150s and I've seen Citabrias.

    Key is to watch engine temps and adequate cooling.
     
  3. NineThreeKilo

    NineThreeKilo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Mainly Citabrias, ir's a tuff life for a plane,
     
  4. airbornejohnny

    airbornejohnny Line Up and Wait

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    All along the Jersey shore I've mainly seen Cubs.
     
  5. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Do you have access to an airport that allows you to pick up banners ?
     
  6. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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  7. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    I've seen everything from 150's, to Cubs, to Stearmans, to Learjets towing banners.

    I wouldn't recommend going the Learjet route though. :no:
     
  8. DouglasBader

    DouglasBader Line Up and Wait

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    Usually folks are shooting at the Lears (at the banners, actually).

    I started and ran a banner towing operation years ago, and used a 172-180, a 182, and a 150-150.

    Pawnees are popular.

    What you want to tow depends on what you'll need for the towing.
     
  9. Taggg

    Taggg Filing Flight Plan

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    A smallish banner puling web addresses. A 172-180 would be perfect! As it would kill two birds with one stone. Does it have to ne a tail dragger?
     
  10. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Stinson 108 with an O-470 conversion does really well if you want to haul billboards as well as have a family plane. I towed big billboards with one off 25L at Long Beach and could climb and dive for the pick up without going through the pattern.
     
  11. NineThreeKilo

    NineThreeKilo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    A super stinson!

    That's not a cheap plane to be burning up towing rags, not to mention not a cheap engine to overhaul, a CS prop to deal with, plus three seats that aint making any more money towing that rag around, I wouldnt spend much time towing banners in anything I wanted to keep around.

    And a pawnee is going to be overkill for that position (especially a hutch wing)

    Get a ruff around the edges Citabria with a good engine, cheap on fuel, cheap to buy, easy to work on.
     
  12. DouglasBader

    DouglasBader Line Up and Wait

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    Absolutely not. Tricycle gear, conventional gear; it makes no difference.
     
  13. poadeleted21

    poadeleted21 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is that a problem? I see/hear tow planes all the time dropping their rags then landing at KMSO, a class D airport? Is that unusual?
     
  14. Taggg

    Taggg Filing Flight Plan

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  15. DouglasBader

    DouglasBader Line Up and Wait

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    Is it a problem if the airport doesn't permit the operation you want to conduct? It certainly could be. Yes.

    Whether the airport is Class D or not is irrelevant. One can tow banners from Class D airports.
     
  16. poadeleted21

    poadeleted21 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    [​IMG]
     
  17. DouglasBader

    DouglasBader Line Up and Wait

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    You asked the question. No need to be an ass when you receive an answer.
     
  18. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You typically have to abide by requirements set up by the airport if you run a commercial operation. I dont know whether a public airport can forbid you to base your banner-tow out of their field, but as you have some ground facilities and personnel that needs to operate near the runway, it would be difficult to operate unless you have some agreement with the airport.
     
  19. CT4ME

    CT4ME Cleared for Takeoff

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    FWIW...
    I saw a banner system that didn't have the typical pickup problems. The main banner attachment post had little wheels on it. You just stretch it out behind the aircraft and take off. No hooks, no diving, simple. Here's a video...
    and more info
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  20. Taggg

    Taggg Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks CT4ME, by the way, after your post about the light sport I asked about a Skycatcher, I checked out the CT, it looks like the CT is an outstanding airplane. If I ever decide to go light sport, it would be number one on the list right now.
     
  21. Taggg

    Taggg Filing Flight Plan

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    That is fantastic, do they drop the banner before landing? Being pulled by a CT light sport no less, amazing!
     
  22. CT4ME

    CT4ME Cleared for Takeoff

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    yup, drop over designated area, just like the other system.
     
  23. DouglasBader

    DouglasBader Line Up and Wait

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    Bear in mind that what you want to pull will narrow down the type of aircraft you use. If you're pulling letters, for example, then you'll be limited to a given number of letters by the aircraft you choose. A low power, smaller aircraft won't haul as many letters or as big a banner.

    If you're looking at bigger banners, then something like a Pawnee or bigger is a better choice.
     
  24. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Locals use mostly a super cub but also a 150/150 and a Pawnee
     
  25. Taggg

    Taggg Filing Flight Plan

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    That was a pretty big custom banner the CT was pulling, but for my purposes it is looking like a 150 hp Citabria pulling letters, if only there is a system like shown in the video that would be perfect. You don't need a stick crew.
     
  26. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

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    Remember, running the tow plane at full power and a high angle of attack (typical for banner tows) is not conducive to keeping the cylinders cool. I've seen two banner tow planes on the ground. They both had the conventional top cowl removed and some sort of ducting that would pull lots of air through the cylinders at low speed.

    So using your tow plane for personal use may require removing the ducting and replacing the cowl.

    This observation is derived from a very small sample size, so YMMV.

    -Skip
     
  27. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That's why unless you are doing a dedicated tow plane, you want something that will tow the banner you want at moderate power settings. The Stinson with the 230hp engine made the best banner & general use cruising plane. With the leading edge slats and the O-470 you could basically not stall it.
     
  28. KSCessnaDriver

    KSCessnaDriver Pattern Altitude

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    The company I work for has a fleet of PA-18's. They might have more airframes beyond that, but I don't do anything with them.
     
  29. DouglasBader

    DouglasBader Line Up and Wait

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    Our airplanes had no such mods, and we also used them for instruction, rental, and glider towing.

    One shouldn't get the bare minimum airplane. If one is running at high angles of attack all day, at high power settings, cooling is going to be an issue. One is limited in speed by the banner, and one doesn't need to be flying fast anyway. Far better to have a bigger engine flying at a lower, coolerl power setting, than a small airplane pushing it for all it's got.
     
  30. CBeaulieu

    CBeaulieu Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Here's a pretty cool video of a banner pickup at the Biddeford airport. Augusta shares the same CTAF as B19, so I hear these guys on the radio all the time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDYVs9TuogQ

    That looks like fun.
     
  31. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Fun? You dive for energy which is the same thing as flying a steep final with power on, toss the hook, fly between the poles and pull up for a steep climb and push out before you stall out and remain at that speed, just above stall, for the rest of the flight. On a busy day if you have a multi hook plane you'll do it several times without a break. It's just another flying job, I haven't found one that's really 'fun'.
     
  32. CBeaulieu

    CBeaulieu Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The difference between you and I is I don't fly professionally, therefor still enjoy the simpler parts of it. :)
     
  33. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Like Ag flying, it's fun the first couple times as we learn it because the learning provides a challenge. After that we enjoy it as long as we do it in comfortable conditions every here and there as long as we don't have to do it much and most importantly of all, we don't have to make it pay for itself, or God forbid, make it feed us and pay our bills. That's when it turns to real tedium if not desperate frustration because we 'have to' make it work, and that is not a simple task.
     
  34. CBeaulieu

    CBeaulieu Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That can be said about any job I suppose, which is why I am not sold/heart-set on getting a flying job...I just enjoy it too much.

    I am in a good spot now to get a part time job one I get the required ratings. I think I'll look into that.
     
  35. DouglasBader

    DouglasBader Line Up and Wait

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    I fly professionally, and enjoy the simpler parts, as well as the more complex ones.

    Approach the pickup with a slow descent at pickup speed, hook out (toss it after takeoff, or on the downwind). Don't fly between the poles: let the hook do that. Apply power and climb. Don't come close to stalling the airplane.

    I've heard people describe dramatic and exciting pickups and drops, and it really isn't. It's more like a normal approach to land, but a bit higher, with a go-around. Little more. One flies a little slower than usual with the banner behind. There should never be any possibility of stalling, no dives, and no flying between poles. Even the pitch after snagging the hook is nothing more than climbing enough to keep the banner from dragging, and if it's layed out properly that takes very little climb at all.
     
  36. CBeaulieu

    CBeaulieu Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Would you say the banner pickup in the video I posted was over-dramatized, then?
     
  37. DouglasBader

    DouglasBader Line Up and Wait

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    I don't know about dramatized, but there was no diving approach to pick up the banner. When the banner was retrieved, the pilot applied power and began a climb. I don't know that he needed to pull up that much, but many have a tendency to do so for fear of dragging the banner. So long as the banner isn't dragged back against itself, and so long as a positive climb continues and it prevents the tail end from dragging when the pick-up is complete, that's good enough.

    It didn't look ver dramatic, and I doubt the aircraft came close to a stall.
     
  38. NineThreeKilo

    NineThreeKilo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Im sorry to hear that :confused:

    I've been flying professionally for a while now and I love it and dont really consider it that four letter word "work".

    The great thing about aviation is.. if you get sick of the flying you do there are soooo many different places you can fly, so many aircraft your can fly and so many different types of flying to be done!

    I'm always learning new things and finding challenges, I set a simple goal in my craft; to be the best pilot out there, I enjoy working, learning and busting my butt to try to get there.