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Need opinions (banner towing)

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Well-known member
Nov 27, 2001
Hey guys and gals,
I recieved a job offer today. It sounds good except for one major stipulation. Pay For Training. The job is towing banners in Florida. For those who have towed banners before, is it really a 30 to 80 flight hour a week job? Secondly, how much training on average does it take an average Joe to get a banner towing endorsement. The pay is $12 to $17 per flight hour so there is some money to be made. My take on it is this. The operator is making a big profit on this training which is ridiculous. I imagine I'm a bit more qualified (as far as insurance costs go) than the average applicant. I don't need the job so I am in a position to make a counter offer (ie, the operator eats my training costs in exchange for a commitment). So people, if you have flown banners, shed some light on what the job is really like. It would be a blast spending the winter (and furlough) in Florida.
Do you really think you'll be on furlough the whole winter? A lot of airlines are calling people back. I think even MeSAABa called theirs back. Cheese Air must be needing you guys soon.
I wouldn't go pay to tow a banner, but that seems to be the norm (I did live 4 years down on the coast). With your qualifications, you could do some local charter maybe in OSH, GRB or ATW, or even get yourself in the right seat of a King Air or something to hold you over. I'm sure you've looked into these things, but I'd save banners as a last resort. You don't need the SE time anyhow.
Email me to talk more.
See Youuuuuuu
bad idea

Hey I've heard about this operation in FL that sounds a lot like the one you're talking about. I heard the guy charges almost 2 grand or something for training, and then you don't even have a job at the end of it. He blows smoke up your touch-hole the whole time. Be very weary of this operation. Plus the maintenance is really lousy at most of the banner operations.

I towed in NC for 2 seasons and started with 300 hrs. They put me in the right seat to observe 2 pickups, then we swapped and I did a few dual, then I was off solo. So it doesn't take a course to learn what to do, you just have to sit down and talk to someone who knows what they're doing for an hour and get the pickups/drops straight in your head, then fly them that way.

Good luck.

P.S. Try searching for this board for related posts, I think there's some interesting stuff on some of those operators.
If your talking about an outfit in Daytona (mabye found it on climbto350) I haven't heard very glowing reviews about it. I personally have no expierence with them but word of mouth, hersay, hanger talk (In Vero Beach) generally paints it as a scam to get you to pay a pile of cash for pretty much uselless training then leave you with no job. Just be carefull, it could be legitimet but it sure sounds like the same place.
Its a blast!

I have about 1000 hrs or so of banner flying. All I can say that it is a blast and I enjoyed every minute of it. I wish I could still do it, but once you fly 121 they tend to frown on that type of flying.

I will also add that it is as safe as you make it. Once you get going at it its real easy to get "comfotable" with it, thats when you are going to swallow a valve at pickup or lose a cylinder far away from the airport.

As far as the operation in FL. I have heard bad things from a place down there that was charging PFT and then sending people on there way without a job. But, I am not sure which operation it was so I really can't comment on the one you are looking into, be careful, do some research.

As far as training is concerned for a check out, I started towing when there wasn't a banner endorsment, we just went out the airplane and picked a few lead poles up and then a banner. After that I was on my own.

If you are looking at getting into it for the time you are furloghed, there is a good reputable company in Atlanta that may need some help, good pay and very nice people.

I think they might want some tailwheel time though, maybe 50 hrs or so, they fly the mighty SuperCub.

Just let me know if you want a contact.
Banner Towing v. PFT

I've never flown banners, but my two-center would be that I just don't like the P-F-T idea, primarily because I suspect there's an underlying scam. Besides, if what the others are saying is true, you might be recalled and be out the money. If you can negotiate your way out of the P-F-T aspect, it might be fine, and different.

I'm a Westerner and have lived in Florida during the winter. For me, it was strange having a 75-degree day on something like January 10th and seeing lawn people mowing the grass in January.

Good luck with your decision.
I have never banner towed but it sounds like fun. Just don't smoke while you do it, one of our captain's threw his fag out the window and it blew back in. His description is hilarious as he describe's crawling to the back of the super cub to find the burning fag and throw it out. Amazing what you can do when you have to .
when I was towing, I'd flick my butt out the hole in the side of the cub used as a door, and watch it to make sure it wouldn't light the sign on fire.... Bout once a month I'd have to crawl to the tail and retrive my wizz bottle.... Those days where lots of fun...
The guy's name was Tim. His company Aerial Advertisements was based out of Ft. Meyers. I called him today and said I'd give him a 6 month commitment but I couldn't justify paying for training. He gave me some line about how he payed $3600 for banner training so $2500 was actually a deal. He then also told me to give him a call if I change my mind. I can't imagine it would take very long for him to fill 4 or 5 spots so it does appear a bit shady. Thanks for the info guys. I guess I'll just stick with partial engine failures over the airport dropping meatballs at the sandpit.
See Yooooooooo!
Run, dont walk, Run away as fast as you can!

I personally dont have any experience with this guy Tim but I know people who have and from what they have said, he is out for nothing more than your hard earned cash!

He also (or used to) run Aerial Messages in Daytonna and would charge "students" as much as $3000 for banner tow instruction on the promise of a steady job towing banners afterwards. I have yet to meet or read a post from anyone who has actually made a buck towing a banner for this guy once they have there "banner tow endorsement!" Dont get me wrong, sure there is someone making $12-17 - Tim and his "instructor" thats who.

I have met several people first hand who looked at this "program" while I was on leave from the military to do my CFI/II in Vero at the beginning of 96'. One of them, who owned his own plane and had around 750 hours, forked out $3000 and got about 3-5 hours instruction in a very old and barely airworthy C-172. His checkride consisted of the instructor giving him the controls to pick up a banner on a revenue flight. After endorsing the guys logbook, the marketing wiz who had more business than he could handle when he was enticing the guys to come on board, told the guy he could not hire him because business was not up to par at the moment but if he would stick by the phone they would call when it picked up. Guess what? They never called. I have heard of others giving this con artist deposits and never being able to get a single cent back when they changed there mind because Tim said he had made arangements such as deposits for lodging or what not and then they did not show up!

There are plenty of legitimate operators up and down the East coast who will give you the training required in exchange for your time and commitment!

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