The secret behind aerial banners

The Secret Behind Aerial Banners

CHICAGO, Il. (WGN) -- The key to banner towing is having the right plane.

Ted Harmon and Inga Fox started Air Signs and Banners 25 years ago. It used to be they would take off with the banner attached. But that's now how it works today. Signs are bigger, so banner towers had to get more creative.

The pilot actually releases a hook while in the sky, and flies the hook between two poles to catch the rope and pull up the sign.

It takes a lot of set up. For a letter banner, crews tie each 7-foot letter together to create a message.

When it's all laid out and the attached to the poles, the pilot can get ready for takeoff.

Once in the air, the pilot releases the hook. Then he has to dive down -- so the hook grabs the rope between the two poles -- and then climb straight up into the sky to pull the banner up for everyone to see.

Then when it's time to switch out signs, one comes down, and the grappling hook gets reset for another sign.

It's attached to a 300-foot rope placed between the poles for pick up.

The banner itself costs about $3,000 to make, and it has a special tether to make sure it flies at the right angle.

When the next sign is set, the plane dives in again, hooking onto the banner and taking it to the sky.

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