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How to get into Banner Towing

Old 01-31-2011, 08:08 PM
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Default How to get into Banner Towing

Hello to all,
I need some sound advice. I'm currently in my last semester at college in VA pursing an aviation concentrated degree. I have 205TT, 20 hours away from my commercial. After which I will be getting my multi and then graduate at the end of April. My ultimate goal is to get my CFI by the end of the summer and instruct while pursuing my masters degree here at my current college starting September. However, in the time being (April - September), I really wanted to get some tail wheel time by doing some banner towing.
I guess my real question is do I have a chance getting a job with say 250TT 20 Tail Wheel?
If so what avenues should I be pursuing? I'm an international student having no ties anywhere in the US hence I'm open to moving anywhere.

Or is it just not feasible in this current economy?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:28 PM
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I didn't have any more than that when I got into it. I just called up the 2 local companies I knew of and asked if I could train to do it. One of them was willing to train and the other wasn't. So they will probably listen to your story at least, and if they are really busy consider training you to do their particular system. If they are not busy or in need of help they are going to either pass or perhaps try and get you to pay for your own training somewhere else. I would be leery of buying more than a few hours of training for an operation they should train you for. Set a limit on it and if they waffle after the first few hours are complete in your paid training, consider it money lost and walk away. There are a bunch of shady banner tow training outfits in Florida also, I would avoid those. Realistically there are a lot pilots on the street now and I doubt you are going to see much action but there's no harm in asking.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:05 PM
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My advice, do whatever you have to in order to get your CFI as soon as possible. There is no more wasted flight time than flying banners. I wanted to continually poke myself in the eye, and it's all done flying crappy airplanes that are maintained JUST well enough to drag rags. Watched three co-workers make off airport landings, one wound up in the surf, two died. A CFI job is MUCH better experience, and you'll probably make more money, and enjoy it more.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumble View Post
Watched three co-workers make off airport landings, one wound up in the surf, two died. A CFI job is MUCH better experience, and you'll probably make more money, and enjoy it more.
I second that. My flight instructor towed for a little, ended up landing on the beach. Thankfully he turned out fine, and no one was hurt. A friend of his passed away from banners though. Thats not to say some companies are legit, just know that it COULD be risky flying.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumble View Post
My advice, do whatever you have to in order to get your CFI as soon as possible. There is no more wasted flight time than flying banners. I wanted to continually poke myself in the eye, and it's all done flying crappy airplanes that are maintained JUST well enough to drag rags. Watched three co-workers make off airport landings, one wound up in the surf, two died. A CFI job is MUCH better experience, and you'll probably make more money, and enjoy it more.
Definitely I agree on getting my CFI asap. However due to my immigration status I can ONLY work within the field of "aviation flight operations" nothing else. So instead of sitting home all summer while working on my CFI I just wanted to get into some type of flying.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:39 PM
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Be very careful with compaines that require you to pay for your training--especially in the Daytona Beach, FL area. Banner Tow operators are the bottom feeders of the aviation industry. Many are just plain criminals. Use Caution !!!!
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by smugglersblues View Post
Be very careful with compaines that require you to pay for your training--especially in the Daytona Beach, FL area. Banner Tow operators are the bottom feeders of the aviation industry. Many are just plain criminals. Use Caution !!!!
Tim still in business in DAB? He should be in jail...
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumble View Post
Tim still in business in DAB? He should be in jail...
WOW....when I was looking into towing banners, I think I heard from 10-15 different people to stay away from that guy. From they way they talked, I am very surprised he is still in business.
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:55 PM
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I have towed for 2 different companies. The first, in Myrtle Beach, was pretty typical. Horrible planes and very low pay. Had to pay for part of training too. I managed not to kill myself or have any incident whatsoever. Others were not so lucky. The second company, down in Hollywood, FL (ft. lauderdale basically) couldn't be farther from the first. Top notch mx dept. Pay was $45/hr. 2 hr weather cancelation pay. Tons of x-country time. Didn't pay a dime for training. Got job #1 with 250tt, 5 tw. The latter company has been known to hire both experienced banner towers and low timers. They usually like to see at least 25 tw. If I could do it again I never would have worked for the Myrtle outfit and would have tried to get on with the HollyHood guys. Draggin rags can be dangerous, I'll admit. But if you are careful and the company takes care of their equipment and pilots, it can be a great way to build time. I got 1200 hrs in 2 summers basically. Anyone can PM me for more info. Be glad to go into more detail.
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SkyStormer6 View Post
I have towed for 2 different companies. The first, in Myrtle Beach, was pretty typical. Horrible planes and very low pay. Had to pay for part of training too. I managed not to kill myself or have any incident whatsoever. Others were not so lucky. The second company, down in Hollywood, FL (ft. lauderdale basically) couldn't be farther from the first. Top notch mx dept. Pay was $45/hr. 2 hr weather cancelation pay. Tons of x-country time. Didn't pay a dime for training. Got job #1 with 250tt, 5 tw. The latter company has been known to hire both experienced banner towers and low timers. They usually like to see at least 25 tw. If I could do it again I never would have worked for the Myrtle outfit and would have tried to get on with the HollyHood guys. Draggin rags can be dangerous, I'll admit. But if you are careful and the company takes care of their equipment and pilots, it can be a great way to build time. I got 1200 hrs in 2 summers basically. Anyone can PM me for more info. Be glad to go into more detail.
I went and talked to both in person, if we are thinking of the same guys. The guy in hollywood didn't like the fact that I said if I lose an engine and there's no one under me, I'm ditching the banner. He tried to convince me that a banner behind an airplane would EXTEND the gliding distance. Seemed to me he was more worried about losing equipment than safety.

Flight instructing is good experience, plus you get comfortable with uncoordinated power on stalls and learn a lot.
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