June 29, 2017

A Day at The Shard

One of those days in a lifetime to remember.
Today, I had to fly a banner around London’s iconic landmark, The Shard.
The occasion was a marriage ceremony at the top of the building. Sonya and Paul were having their big day, courtesy of the ITV, ‘This Morning’ programme, and I had to cap-it-off with a large programme logo, followed by a ‘Just married’ message with a large red heart, at exactly 12:18.
The public and clients really don’t understand what a significant challenge placing an aircraft over central London involves. Why would they?
Other than the simple logistics of the aircraft - it has to be a twin-engine - crew and ground crew, one has to gain the permission of NATS at Swanwick, Heathrow, Special Branch and quite possibly even the Archbishop of Westminster. London is now an intense security space and the authorities are somewhat ‘twitchy’ at the thought of any non-scheduled aviation activity inside it’s tightly policed borders.
Bringing the plan together, involved borrowing the Islander BN2 from Headcorn Parachute Club, which is the only banner-towing equipped ‘Twin’ in the country, my friend and pilot, Richard, ‘Polly’ Parrott and another friend and pilot, John Waller as ground crew; a vital part of the operation in making sure we pick-up the banner in the first place and get to the target in time.
The circus, in two aircraft, arrived at Denham airfield, outside Uxbridge, at 10am and from there we set-out the banner on the grass and then waited for 11:30 to come around, at which point, ‘Polly’ and I departed into the airfield circuit and trawled the line, attached to the banner, strung between two posts, ten feet off the ground.
With lots of time to spare, we trundled off to an area North of Alexandra Palace, the official entry route into central London, received our clearance from Heathrow ‘Special’ and then went into a series of orbits until exactly six minutes past twelve, when we were cleared to enter the London control zone, with a direct route to the Millennium Eye wheel and Westminster, over the bridge and onto the South Bank of the Thames.
Arriving on the South bank, we did one orbit to bleed off some time and then headed straight to The Shard, you can’t miss it, and proceeded to orbit it for a good ten minutes before retracing our steps, out of London and back to where we started at Denham for a coffee and a nervous breakdown.
It’s hard enough to fly a banner with a single engine aircraft - see video - with a big heavy twin-engined tractor like the Islander, it’s much much more complicated, which is why, I assume, nobody else on the planet I know of, is actually crazy enough to try it.
Now we have been seen over London on a number of occasions; Wembley, twice for the FA Cup semi-finals, I’m expecting much more demand. However, the biggest challenge of all remains the management of client expectations, in that one simply doesn’t ‘Troll’ a banner over London without a huge level of scrutiny and preparations. Like most things in life, it’s simply not as easy as it might look

August 24, 2016

On the End of Hastings Pier

Congratulations John and Rachel, captured during that special proposal moment on the end of Hastings Pier in today's heatwave.

Airads succeeds once again in bringing romance to the air.




July 2, 2016

A Windy Afternoon on Southend Pier

A Blustery, showery afternoon on the end of the pier at Southend but true love prevailed and Suheil gallantly proposed to Gemma and was caught in the act by the aircraft camera!

Congratulations both of you and we hope you'll be very happy together.


October 18, 2015

A Perfect Proposal at Hever Castle in Kent

A Proposal at Hever Castle
Congratulations Martin and Sam at the lovely Hever castle in Kent this afternoon. It took weeks of preparation and lots of worry during yesterday's bad weather but it all worked-out perfectly in the end as you can see from the photo, taken with the aircraft camera.


August 16, 2015

It's TimeToGo Mr KenWright

Massive coverage for the first banner of the season at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, where The Saints took on Everton.

Everton fans had commissioned a banner calling on the club's chairman to stand-down and this flying gesture attracted significant attention across the sports media.


July 18, 2015

What a Lovely Gesture

It's not often we get thank you notes from our clients but this one in particular was a lovely gesture, following the wedding of Neil and Vincent near London, earlier in the summer.

Wishing them both a very happy future together,


July 5, 2015

Congratulations at the Glynde Festival of Love 2015

Congratulations Alan and 'Soo Soo' at this afternoon's Festival of Love at Glynde in Sussex this afternoon.

After this morning's big thunderstorms, it turned-into a lovely afternoon for a marriage proposal.

Here's the festival from above.


May 10, 2015

Happy Birthday YAYA From Paddy Power

Irish bookmakers Paddy Power booked Airads to  fly a 'Happy Birthday Yaya Toure' banner over the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City took on QPR today.

The Ivorian is reported to be off in the summer, with Inter Milan - and former manager Roberto Mancini - favourites to sign him.

City were playing QPR so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to wish Yaya a happy birthday.

May 1, 2015

A Touch of Reality

Pictured earlier today, The Reality Party banner flying over Ramsgate and South Thanet in Kent, with less than a week to go before the polls open for the General Election.

Airads may have some more political banners to fly very soon.

April 19, 2015

Labour's Debt and Taxes over Ramsgate

To celebrate the campaign visit of Guardian columnist and left-wing author, Owen Jones to Ramsgate, in support of the Labour candidate, Will Scobie, a special banner was flown today.

Possibly not quite what either had in mind for a good campaign day out before the General Election in the strategic seat of South Thanet?


October 29, 2014

Sherlock Bones

The Sun Story on Toby Terrier
On Saturday, we were part of the search for Toby Terrier;#FINDTOBYTERRIER at Wokingham.

I do hope that someone does the right thing and returns the little fella as the owners are trying so very hard to find him and bring him home.

Update: delighted to hear Toby was found and returned today.



October 24, 2014

Rock and Roll Bride

Excellent! Last summer's special proposal flight at Brighton Pier, from Michael to Gordon, and the gay civil ceremony that followed, features in Rock & Roll Bride.'

Of course we are absolutely delighted for both of them.


October 12, 2014

Becky Said Yes

Congratulations Adam and Becky this afternoon, near Berkhampstead.

The flight was held over because of bad weather yesterday but true love prevailed and the Labrador played a starring role.


July 13, 2014

Worthing Birdman 2014

The weather worked out fine for the annual International Worthing Birdman today and Airads was overhead for a client taking photos of the activity below. Not much sign of flying but rather a lot of large splashes from the end of the pier!