Friday afternoon I was driving home from work when I spotted in the distance what looked like a postage stamp in the sky. Yeah, it was pretty far away. It took me a hot second to realize there was an airplane towing a banner in the air as an advertisement.

Initially, I jumped to the conclusion that it could be some type of political banner. Maybe it was a TRUMP banner? I kept craning my neck as I was driving trying to figure out what it was.

Ken Hayes
Ken Hayes
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At another point, looking from miles away, I swear I saw a profile of a person. Was it an annoying real estate agent? A politician? I really tried to see what it was, but each time I caught a glance at it, it was just too far away. Add to the fact that it was one-sided, looking at it from the wrong angle was all wrong.

So it turns out that the banner actually was an advertisement for High Noon Seltzers. Okay, so I finally got a good enough look after it flew over Superior when I was walking my dog. It was right over us, that's why I could finally make it out.

Then, I started wondering, "How the heck do they take off and land with this huge banner?" I noticed this plane was flying with its flaps partially down to create more lift because obviously, this would be a lot of drag on an airplane.

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I went to the trusty YouTube to find the answer. The plane doesn't take off or land with the banner attached. It's a lot more complicated.

First, the plane takes off. It has a long cable and hook attached to it.

GBH News YouTube
GBH News YouTube
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The plane then comes back for a touch-and-go style maneuver and hooks into the rope for the banner. Next is a steep climb with a lot of throttle to get the plane and banner up high.

GBH News YouTube
GBH News YouTube
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The banner then unrolls and then the plane can fly for a few hours on its fuel to bring the flying billboard places with a lot of people that will see it.

The next question is, "How do they land?" I can't imagine you would want to land with a huge banner behind you. What if it got in a tree? What if the wind pulled it and steered you off course at a critical time? The answer I found is that they release it.

GBH News YouTube
GBH News YouTube
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Once the banner is on the ground, the pilot lands the plane by itself and then the crew rolls up the banner.

GBH News YouTube
GBH News YouTube
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Check out how they do it in this very cool video from GBH news.

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