If it pays an honest days wage for an honest days work, I say that any flying is a honorable way to build time. There are probably better ways, but at 220 hours, you have plenty of time to do a little towing and still get to do some of the better flying before you get to anyones hiring mins.
BTW, I've never done any banner towing, so I can't really say if it's safe or not. Sorry.
What makes a safe banner pilot I think is to have a good head on your shoulders.
A place where I was working a guy got killed because he over flew the airplane. Long story short, he drug the banner through the tops of the pines and did a half snap straight into the dirt.
Safety. In my previous post I said that people TEND to get careless when flying banners, I was no exception.
Heres how it plays out. Allday long you are manuevering the airplane in ways that if you had a hardened pilot next to you in the PAX seat he would be white knuckeled. I am not saying that ther are violent manuevers or anything, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to make the pickup. Heavy crosswinds, tight pickup areas, operating very closely to ground equipment and people.
Not to mention over powered airplanes, 180, 240 horse Supercubs, 150, 180 horse C-150's, which by the way fly great without a banner behind it, that also lends itself to doing thing you normally wouldnt do. Oh yea, you cant forget to turn the boost pump on when your on the pickup with that kind of flying, you starve the engine of fuel when your at the top of the pickup, theres no way but down then.
Dont get me wrong, banner flying is not rocket science, but if YOU dont respect it at ALL times, you may become a statistic. It happens every season.
I was around 20 years old when I started towing, I made my mistakes, a few could have ended it all.
Rear seat buckles getting caught in the rear seat control stick, not on the stick but down in the hole where the stick comes out of the floor in the mechinism, I found that out right at the top of a pickup, it was close. I "thought" I checked it, I never forgot again after that day.
Slipping a C-150 trying to get lined up on the poles, at that point I should have went around because I was going to miss anyway, I just thought I would try, well I slip it so much that with the 10 degrees of flaps out, I blanketed the rear stab with the flaps, I didnt have much time at 15-20 ft. I recovered right when the nose gear was going to dig in the ground, had to go around the pattern a couple times after that.
I didnt have many like that, but enough to have been on some NTSB reporting summary if it hadnt of worked out.
Like I said, your out there everyday flying like your an A-1 Skyraider pilot in Vietnam on some counter insurgency mission, you cant get into the trap.
Safety. Good head on shoulders, always have an out no matter how tight it is.
THe reason I say this is because most of my towing was in field that had one way in and one way out no matter what the winds were. When I flew somewhere else, like at a controlled field or something with miles of grass and concrete, it was no big deal, all kinds of room.
The biggest risk is complacency, and dying of boredom. The pickup is seldom exciting (and it's potentially the most interesting part); but it does place you close to the ground, taking on a load, with potentially limited performance and airspeed. As LR25 said, it's not rocket science.
Know your airplane, know your own limitations, have a ball.
Don't know if they're lookin for new guys but you can call Jim Jr., at 954-989-2086, that's Aerial Sign Co. in hollywood, fl. the best banner towing outfit to work for, the have a fleet of some 30 of 40 Super Cubs, the one in my signature was completely rebuilt that spring, they build one or two new ones every year. nothing like an extremely lightweight Super Cub with a brand new 180 horsepower engine, gos upstairs like a homesick angel.
here's the link to their site http://www.aerialsign.com/