When I towed banners, the pickup was:
Fly ~10ft off the ground at 80knts (being stabilized was key - if you were slowing down or speeding up or pitching the hook would sway too much)
as soon as you pass over the flags (They hold the rope that the grappling hook catches) - pull up at about 45 degrees
slowly push the nose down as airspeed bleeds off and the banner comes off the ground - try to hold about 50-60knts or lower if the plane can handle it.
stay 1000agl, and turn left a lot!
PS - the plane has already flown over the flags that he picks up the banner from - he's probably at about the 45 degree angle or a little more and the camera angle makes it look steeper
Judging by the distortion and foreshortening in the clouds and of the airplane itself, I'd say that the photographer used a really wide angle lens. The plane was probably much more overhead than it looks and, as said above, was closer to a 45 degree pitch than vertical. The joys of photographic illusion!
[ QUOTE ]
Is it a RC plane? I know they can do that. If not its got a pretty interesting picture. Is it possible to have a plane which thrust will actually be higher than the actual weight of the plane?
[/ QUOTE ]
The Exxon flying tiger is able to keep climbing vertically, the only thing that stops it is inability to keep the big piston engine cool. (according to the announcer at sun and fun)
WOW.. that's pretty kewl! I've often wondered how the planes pick up the banner flags.. it seems that the banner flags are just as heavy as the plane (as the wind whips it from side to side)... since the banner is usually flying lower than the plane is flying. How much drag does the banner put on the plane?
I've towed banners for 3 different companies - it was great fun. That picture is pretty distorted, though. On the pull-up, most times the pilot won't pull extremely steep except for some guys who try and show off. Like everything in aviation, different companies and different pilots use slightly different techniques. If you have a good feel for the airplane and with some practice, you can get the banner to lift up off the ground very nicely.
[ QUOTE ]
How much drag does the banner put on the plane?
[/ QUOTE ]
It depends on the type of banner and the type of plane. They are pretty draggy, but the majority of banner planes have some extra horsepower to safely handle it.
Letter banners are made with big nylon letters attached to little poles- the poles get linked together to make words. A long letter banner is very draggy. A billboard is a big huge flat panel, like in the picture. The bigger, the draggier (is draggier a word?).
Most days went fine, but I've flown on a few hot days towing a good-sized billboard/banner (with a plane that was a tad underpowered for the job) where I was barely climbing and I had my hand near the banner release ready to drop while I looked back to make sure that the banner would clear the trees and powerlines. Sometimes it took a few miles just to get to 500' or 1000'. There were also times when I would deviate slightly off course to fly over a big asphalt parking lot or a building complex to get some thermal lift (like thermalling with a glider - works pretty good!).