December 24, 2007

Old Trafford and Everton in the News

Lots of reporting today in the papers and on TV of yesterday's flight over old Trafford.

The Liverpool Daily Post reports:

"Fans aiming to keep Everton in the city took their campaign to the skies of Manchester yesterday during the Premiership match between Everton and Man Utd at Old Trafford.

A protester flew a plane with a banner reading Keep Everton in Our City over the stadium. The stunt was part of the group’s on-going campaign to stop the club moving to a proposed new stadium in Kirkby.

Similar protests have taken place at home games, but this is the first at an away game."

The Telegraph reports:

"And five minutes after Ronaldo's opener, Wes Brown failed to cut out Pienaar's cross and Tim Cahill rose above Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra and, with the ball in the net beneath the Stretford End, dashed over to punch a corner flag. The light aircraft that had been patrolling the clear winter skies over Old Trafford carrying a banner protesting about Everton's move from Goodison to Kirkby was still swooping above the great arena. From the cockpit, they would have been pleased with what they saw."

Not sure we could see that clearly but more flights yet to come!

December 21, 2007

Christmas Greetings

It must be Christmas and AIRADS will be making a flight over Kent having raised £150 for the NSPCC for the winner's seasonal message on eBay.

On Saturday, we are over Old Trafford for Everton vs Manchester United and have a Russian marriage proposal over the historic city of Canterbury, if the fog stays away. Our Chinese wedding flight to Oxford earlier today fell victim to freezing fog in the vicinity. It happens and one can never be certain that the winter weather will be in the limits we need to pick-up and fly a banner safely.

A Merry Christmas to all our clients and readers and a prosperous and Happy New Year to come!

November 23, 2007

We Shall Not be Moved

There's no stopping Airads - with luck - even in the middle of winter, with Everton fans booking us over Goodison Park over the coming weeks, with the message "We Shall Not Be Moved."

Meanwhile, the Sky Bar "Sports Arena" nightclub is opening in Basildon, Essex on December 7th and over the coming two week, we will be letting everyone know, with a little help from a banner they are having designed to celebrate the opening!

October 14, 2007

Superbike Sunday

The British Superbikes Championships at Brands Hatch today. Bennets may have been the official race sponsors but it's more likely that the appearance of an Airads aircraft over the top of the circuit may have had the sale now on at Laguna motorcycles, noticed by most of the 40,000 or so at the races today.

It's ironic that try as hard as we might, the big names of motor insurance and motorcycle racing simply wouldn't pick-up the phone and as a result, missed hearing about what was, an opportunity missed, for all of them on what looked like an early summer weekend.

October 7, 2007

Red Lion Proposals

Congratulations to Mike and Amie and Tim and Sally. Mike and Tim used our suggestion of the Red Lion at Stodmarsh as the venue for his special marriage proposal.

Recommended in the Times Online, the Red Lion in an ancient Kent villlage, has great food, an eccentric landlord and is right next-door to a nature reserve, which offers both a romantic setting and an easy spot for us to locate the happy couple! It's also the cheapest spot for a proposal in the country, as it's only minutes away from the airfield and incurs only the basic £295+VAT charge for the proposal flight and the special sheet banner that goes with it.

There's another advantage to this and similar spots close to Canterbury outside the summer months, in that on a day like today, with patches of very low cloud about, we are in line of sight with the area we will be flying over and the risk of disappointment as a result of unpredictable autumn and winter weather is almost ruled-out.

September 23, 2007

Jose Jose

We had to do Chelsea vs Manchester United this afternoon. A message from Jose Mourinho, "Goodbye and thanks for all the fish", might have been interesting in the circumstances but he didn't ask.

Come tomorrow, it's the Labour Conference and I can certainly think of a different message than one asking the Prime Minister to support small business. "Vote Tony - Get Gordon" springs to mind!

September 18, 2007

On Season - Out of Season

Almost forgot to post any updates! As this is an occasional diary, we only do it from time to time when our feet our on the ground.

We had the TUC conference and two London Premier League football matches last week, today, there's a flight for a night club over Liverpool and over next weekend, we are in the north for two more Premier football matches for a client.

Add to this, the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth on Monday and the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool - I wonder why nobody wants the LibDems?) and you can see that even with the season ended we are quite busy; Battle of Britain day last Sunday and an EU protest march this weekend too!

While aircraft advertising peaks in August, as you might expect, it still works well at other times of the year if the focus is correct and the weather is good; football and party conferences being two excellent examples. And there's still all the weddings and marriage proposals too!

September 10, 2007

A Message for Gordon Brown

"Return Metro to Public Ownership" said the message and it was delivered, as promised to Gordon Brown, this afternoon as he arrived at the Trade Union Congress. Couldn't get a better photo from the outside but perhaps the TV news cameras picked it up along Brighton seafront? I could see them swivelling in our direction as we passed the convention centre.

September 6, 2007

A Surprise for Gordon

With the Trade Union Congress taking place in Brighton next week, pictured here is a potential surprise message from the Union, waiting for Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to arrive at 'Congress'.

Keep it a secret though!

That Special Spy Plane!

Described as the "Special spy plane", high-resolution photographs from both the Leeds and Reading festivals can be found here. Now that was a long day's flying, mapping both festivals!

September 3, 2007

Good Reception

Over the Pegwell Bay Hotel in Ramsgate this evening to help celebrate a wedding reception taking place there. My best wishes to Laura & Randolph on their marriage and for the future ahead.

I was planning to tie the banner to the Oasis 747 yesterday but I couldn't find a suitable attachment point!

August 29, 2007

Butlins Skegness Chooses Airads

Two days at Skegness, promoting the Butlins resort saw AIRADS flying up and down the coastline. Unlike last week, which was cancelled due to bad weather, holidaymakers and pilots alike enjoyed two days of sunshine, along the beaches and of course, in the famous resort!

August 25, 2007

Spearmint Rhino and Friends

Where are we this weekend? I'm losing track!

There's Lincoln city centre and then there's Reading and Leeds for the V-Festivals. Weymouth Bay for the caravan park, Compton Abbas for a birthday surprise, the south coast for a water safety banner, all the way to the Isle of Wight and before I forget, Saturday and Sunday with a banner for 'Spearmint Rhino' over Brighton.

Next week it's the turn of Butlins at Skegness and more of course; lots of reasons why individuals and companies choose AIRADS for the aircraft banner messages.

August 18, 2007

"Are You The Answer" at the V-Festival

A tough day today, everywhere between Elland Road and Hylands Park for the V-Festival, Pictured. You can find the other photos we took in the photo library here.

Hylands Park, outside Chelmsford was so thick with people attending the V-festival that you could have worked across the top of them without touching the ground. We were towing a sign for a clinical trials company, which read: "ARE YOU THE ANSWER.COM"

Very high winds made all the flight more challenging than usual, gusting 37 knots across the runway, when we dropped the V-Festival banner back at Rochester, as it was too windy to drop it where we started from in Essex.

I'm afraid the video runs out of focus when I try to use the zoom feature from the aircraft!

Congratulations also to Simon and Nicole. Simon popped the question to her with an Airad banner over Harlowe today and even the Essex Radar Controller wanted to know if Nicole said "Yes".

Brands Hatch for Halfords motor racing tomorrow!

August 17, 2007

Marriage in the Air

Another happy couple this afternoon as Ian proposed to Helen at Southend Pier with an Airads banner overhead. Congratulations to both of you!

Tomorrow it's the turn of Simon and Alix over Essex, although she doesn't know it yet!

August 12, 2007

Ramsgate Yacht Week 2007

Ramsgate Week is the Royal Temple Yacht Club annual regatta and is widely recognised as the friendly regatta and the alternative to Cowes.

Watch out for Airads and its banner from the event sponsor, Terence Painter Properties flying over Ramsgate harbour and the races during the event week.

August 11, 2007

Everton Says "No" To Kirkby"

Over Goodison Park today for the Everton fans for the game against Wigan

Goals from Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe gave Everton an opening-day 2-1 victory at home .

Before the match Airads trailed a `Say ``No'' to Kirkby' banner over the ground. Voting among fans on the issue of leaving Liverpool is taking place at the moment.

Everton's fans may well be split over where their club will end up, but David Moyes and his team are giving them something to be proud of on the pitch. Europe beckons on this sort of form.

July 31, 2007

A Hint of Summer

Summer has finally arrived, if only temporarily and Airads is busy towing a water safety banner along the south coast. Coming up next weekend, Brands Hatch again with the Corona Beer banner. Silverstone was a 'washout' for the brand in May, so let's hope the weather smiles on them this time!

July 22, 2007

Public Service Emergency Messages

In view of the catastrophic floods now covering parts of the UK, Airads has offered its services to a number of county councils to include as part of their emergency, civil contingency planning.

An aircraft with a banner message, can visibly cover wide areas with vital public service and police / rescue messages and telephone numbers; e.g, "Floodline Call 08000 nnnn."

Airads can have a message flying over an affected area in a matter of hours.

Margate Pride 2007

Supporting the Lesbian & Gay Community event and march, "Pride 2007" in the north kent coast town and resort of Margate, Airads flew a banner welcoming the visitors to the town.

While large parts of the UK were underwater, Kent remained largely free of rain this weekend, which allowed a number of large public events, such as "The War & Peace Show" and "Pride 2007", to continue uninterrupted.

July 15, 2007

Tolpuddle 2007

A delightful summer's evening finish to a day I thought wouldn't happen.

While the storm was rolling over Kent at 7am, I was wondering if I we were going to get any work done at all today but with the rain still falling, we managed to get down to Compton Abbas in time to fly a detail over Weymouth and more importantly, the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs rally in Dorset, the third year we've done this.

The rally commemorates the beginnings of the Trade Union movement but it's evolving into a major folk festival. This afternoon, sadly, it was raining and the clouds were descending, fast enough for me to cut short the flight to make sure we could get back into Compton Abbas airfield, which sits some 700 feet above the ground, surrounded by magnificent scenery.

Here's a quick video of what it looks like, the co-pilots view, filmed by Suzie.B of the banner being dropped to the side of the runway and a tight circuit back into land.

July 14, 2007

Kent Show 2007

The Kent Show this weekend, and Airads has to sit over the top of it for Goodwins powertools,, promoting their stand.

Here's a photo of the show and here's a video of pilot, James, wrestling the aircraft back into Rochester afer dropping the banner and finding the 'bump' on landing!

July 11, 2007

The Big Brother Bounce

Back from a "Bounce" of the Big Brother house again, this time arranged by the Channel 4's production company.

According the the last newswire release on the web:

'An aeroplane complete with trailing banner has flown over the Big Brother house in the latest “fake week” stunt.

Housemates on the Channel 4 reality show were sent into the garden this afternoon under the pretence the house needed “essential maintenance”. Once the 11 contestants were outside, a plane flew overhead trailing a banner reading, “There is another house”.

Big Brother swiftly ordered the housemates into the caravan'.

In fact, I only watched about five minutes of the programme yesterday evening to try and work out what it might be about but the content of the programme lost me completely.

Not knowing, until afterwards, that it was arranged as part of the programming and learning from the earlier Jade and Shilpa experience, We were careful to blindside approach the building and then 'pop-up' at the very last moment, to catch the contestants before the shutters could be dropped. To be honest, I was very surprised to see them all in the garden at once.

Looking down, I could see them jumping up and down and waving, so I obligingly waggled the aircraft wings a few times. I suppose I may get a better look at it all from the ground in the programme's highlights, this evening.

July 8, 2007

Tour de France - Le Finis

Well, that's the Tour de France and the Ramsgate powerboat races completed at the same time!

It helps that both took place within 20 miles of each other and so we were able to run across to the finish of 'Le Tour' at Canterbury and then across to Ramsgate's Royal Harbour - see video - for the celebrations there.

A very busy looking Canterbury indeed, with thousands lining the route waiting for their 30 second glimpse of the cyclists.

July 6, 2007

Le Tour de Ramsgate

The worst June in living memory kept our aircraft on the ground rather more than we would have liked but even with some awful weather conditions, we managed to achieve 80% of our missions across the country.

This weekend is the Tour de France and the Ramsgate Power Boat races and the same sponsor has us doing both. So on Sunday, weather permitting, its to Canterbury Cathedral to sit over the finish of "Le Tour" and then a quick run down to the Isle of Thanet with the same banner.

Among others, we have a wedding at Sonning in Berkshire, a birthday at Saffron Walden and next week, a "Top Secret" mission, north of London that will probably make the TV cameras.

Now all we need is a little sunshine and light winds!

June 25, 2007

Postal Strike

Another "Secret mission in uncharted space" for Airads this coming Thursday, as the postal workers union asks us to fly around the M25 motorway from Rochester with the message: "CWU SOS Save Our Postal Services."

My guess is that it's a three hour flight, depending on the wind direction, so no coffee, as there's nowhere to stop in between without having to drop the banner!

June 18, 2007

The Big Day

From the weather perspective, June 16th was a day we would rather forget.

Even though we managed to open the air show ("Margate's Big Day") on the Isle of Thanet, scrape in a marriage proposal in low cloud over Brighton pier and a birthday party over Bexley in a rainstorm, we lost the pop concert at Swansea and the Geopost "Fun Day" in Birmingham.

One expects to have reasonably decent weather in June but this year, we are apparently encountering the El Ninio effect from the Pacific, which is impacting our own summer.

July can only be better, we hope!

June 15, 2007

Welcome Kilo India

In time for the busiest weekend of the year so, far, which involves opening Thanet's "Big Day" airshow on Sunday, we can now welcome Golf-Kilo-India to the Airads 'fleet'.

More powerful and with a seven hour endurance, we expect her to keep busy this season with a first job at Singleton Park, Swansea on Saturday afternoon, followed by a marriage proposal at Brighton Pier on the way home.

June 13, 2007

England for Sale

Seen along the M25 motorway this week an advert from

What does it mean? Find out more on about the campaign on their website at

June 10, 2007

Captain Cupid's World of Love

Three women proposed to in less than 24-hours and each of them said "Yes". I suppose it may be a new world record of sorts!

I suppose if the weather if good enough over a summer weekend, we may even be able to manage four proposals in 24-hours but we need the volunteers first.

In fact, banner proposals are now so effective, with a recorded 100% success rate in the cases that have reported back to us - just under 100 women - that we're thinking of offering a money back guarantee if it doesn't succeed.

Only thinking though!

June 8, 2007

Make My Day with Airads

Three more romantic Lemmings are keen to leap over the edge of the matrimonial cliff this weekend, with two of them at the Isle of Wight festival tomorrow, which is a coincidence but makes the travelling a little easier in terms of a single flight into Bembridge to set-up the "Will you marry me?" banners.

Good luck to Jeremy, Paul and Toks on Saturday and Sunday as they wait for the Airads aircraft to put in an appearance at a precise time and place. If we are lucky the weather window may just be enough for it to happen smoothly. Four more and I think we are up to our 100th proposal!

A curious challenge arises in the week ahead from Tuesday, over Kent and the motorways at rush hours, with three days of aerial publicity for a Canadian website Weblo are apparently auctioning off England to the highest bidder and have asked for a rather "cheeky" message to be added to the banner, regarding someone called "Tony."

Now once upon a time, Airads was asked to fly a banner with "Bollocks to Blair"; the hunting ban I think and now it looks as if someone sharing the PM's first name is going to have similar treatment. I did suggest "Gordon for President" but they preferred to stay with what they have, so watch out for BBC or Meridian news reports as they will have been told about it but I'm not allowed to spoil the surprise.

In a little more orthodox messaging exercise with a big sheet banner, I'll be the first flight through Thanet's "Big Day" airshow- on Sunday 18th at 13:30 so best have your anti-aircraft guns trained at the rather slow target heading towards Palm Bay.

The good news from our point of view is that the new aircraft and addition to the "squadron", G-CEKI, passed its CAA inspection today and will be ready in time for its first job over Swansea, next weekend, oh, and another marriage proposal at Brighton on the way home.

June 1, 2007

Hot and Sticky

No thunderstorms today, thankfully, as they were forecast, which allowed us to get in a "Happy 60th" birthday over Brighton Marina and a proposal for the lucky Karen, from her partner, Mark, at Knole Park, near Sevenoaks in Kent.

In fact the latter area was getting quite busy with aircraft arriving at Biggin Hill for this weekends Air Show and we had to share the skies with two RAF Tornado fighters and two Tucano trainers, practising before the event.

Good news. G-CEKI, the new Cessna 172 with a more powerful engine and super-long-range tanks is almost ready and I took here up for her CAA flight test this afternoon. Some small technical tweaks are still required but she should be signed-off for work in time for a busy weekend on 16th June.

Back down to Weymouth tomorrow to hit the beaches in the sunshine!

May 26, 2007

Corona Corona

Another happy Lemming leapt over life's cliff this afternoon with a little air-suport help from a marriage proposal over Maidstone. Good luck to the happy "Jo" and "Steve" in adding to an unbroken record of saying "Yes" to the magic question.

The remainder of the Bank Holiday weekend is looking decidedly "Iffy", with a big Corona Beer banner to be flown over the World Superbikes Chamionships at Silverstone tomorrow.

If you are there, look out for us at about 2pm as a large beer bottle floats by in the sky above the race!

May 22, 2007

Over Here and Over There

A busy day above Birmingham today, promoting the new campaign for the Foster Care Associates at .

Visit their website for more information on fostering children.

The Bank Holiday weekend approaches and Airads will be over the "Superbikes" at Silverstone on Sunday and Weymouth beach on the Monday. On the Saturday, some lucky girl is going to have a flying marriage proposal over Maidstone!

May 13, 2007

Thank You Liverpool FC

A call from Anfield and Liverpool FC on Saturday, "Jerzy Dudek" the team goalkeeper, who wants us to do a little job for him over Anfield today.

It's all booked for 16:35 over the stadium but the weather forecast is looking awful over Liverpool from 15:00 on.

We'll do our best but if the weather closes in Jerzy will be disappointed. However, we will keep him and the player liaison manager at the ground advised by SMS text.

Fingers crossed!

Update.... Because of the bad weather, the message will now happen on Sunday 20th May at 1pm over Anfield. Be sure to wave!

Jerzy writes: "Hi - Thank u for fantastic event... every one is happy so am I.. thanks once more and wish u all the very best..regards Jerz"

April 28, 2007

B&Q Open for Business

Celebrating the opening of the new B&Q store in Swindon, Airads is asked to fly around the city for two hours, in order to let people know that B&Q is open for business.

April 22, 2007

London Marathon

It seems a shame, that with glorious weather over the South-east of England today, nobody thought of placing an Airads skybanner over the start of the London Marathon!

We did try and contact several large sporting companies but as is normally the case these days, voicemail is the default and any attempt at sending an email is likely to find itself caught by the corporate spam filter.

As the London Marathon is only minutes away from our operating hub at Rochester, the cost of an hour's flight would have been less than than £500+VAT, something to think about for next year perhaps?

April 20, 2007

Football Crazy

May 5th is a football fiesta for us with banners going-up over Manchester City vs. Manchester United and Newscastle United vs. Blackburn. From our own selfish point of view it's a shame that the FA Cup Final has moved back to Wembley as we can't overfly the new stadium.

With restrictions around London, we can just about reach, Spurs, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Millwall and Charlton Athletic for London matches though.

April 18, 2007

Local Elections

Airads has been asked to fly over Southampton and Portsmouth on May 2nd and 3rd to encourage people to take part in the local election. It's going to be a long job, six hours each, reminding people that their vote counts in the local elections.

Here's a photograph from the last General Election, when Labour and John Reid joined Airads as we flew around the country. - It's the old aircraft.

The new aircraft G-CEKI, has now arrived at Southampton docks and will, with luck be flying in time for the beginning of June.

If you are planning on an aerial banner this summer, then book know, as the weekends are starting to fill.

April 9, 2007

Wakefield to Weymouth

The first real weekend of the 2007 season saw Airads operating from Wakefield to Weymouth.

Among the flights, a large split banner advertising "The Ministry of Sound" was flown between Maidstone and Eastbourne, two hours were spent over the beach at Weymouth on Easter Sunday and an 85th birthday was celebrated in Ramsgate.

From now on, the demand for aerial advertising will rise until it reaches its seasonal peak at the end of July and so if you haven't booked a weekend date for the summer yet, know is a good time to avoid disappointment.

April 6, 2007

Captain Cupid over Purley

Another successful proposal of marriage, this time over Purley in Surry.

Congratulations Louise & Russell.

March 23, 2007

The Season Starts?

You can tell the season is about to start, with a busy day today.

Two marriage proposal enquiries, one request to fly a banner in the South of France next month and a new skybanner to make-up for an existing client,

From Easter onwards the demand will start to build towards a climax at the end of July and we hope, the Tour De France, as it rides through Kent. Now there's a good advertising opportunity for someone!

March 22, 2007

New Arrival - Almost

First look at the new addition to the Airads fleet, another Cessna 172, being crated-up and driven to the docks for the transatlantic journey to the UK from Texas.

Hopefully, it won't end up on a Devon beach and is due to arrive in Southampton on April 21st. G-CEKI, which is the new registration, is already booked into it's first banner flight in June, to meet the demand expected over the coming summer from events such as Ramsgate Yacht Week.

March 1, 2007

Quick Takeaway

I'm noticing sudden interest in this website from a number of domains in China, Guangzhou province, Beijing et al. All a little worrying given that a significant proportion of spamming operations originate from this part of the world.

I doubt very much that our Chinese friends have developed an urgent need for aerial advertising services and it's far more likely that there is another purpose, as yet unknown.

Most likely you'll find that your next online offer for counterfeit software or counterfeit drugs comes with a spoofed Airads domain behind it.

February 25, 2007

Sand Racing at Margate

Over the beach at Margate today for the Quad bike races.

Given the heavy rain until noon, we didn't expect it to happen but the blue sky started to break through just in time for us to join a Boeing 747 doing practise circuits at Manston, the Jumbo going one way and us the other way, with a 1000 feet of separation over the Thanet beaches.
In fact, we were supposed to be on the same detail on Saturday but strong crosswinds made it impossible to pick up the banner for Terence Painter Properties, the sponsor and after several attempts, we had to concede victory to February weather; the first time in twelve months that the conditions have beaten us. It does happen and clients don't often realise that if conditions aren't right, picking-up their banner in strong winds and turbulence can be very awkward, if the aircraft won't stay exactly on line in the vital last seconds.
Recently we had one helpful onlooker trying to call me on her mobile phone. Afterwards, she commented that she thought we might have a "hands-free" facility, "Like in the car" and could carry on a conversation during the approach attempt. The reality in a light aircraft diving towards a small target on the ground at 100mph is rather different as I'm sure you can imagine.

February 23, 2007

QRA Margate Big Sky Beach Cross

All aboard for the"Big Sky" Quad-bike races on Margate beach this weekend and estate agent, Terence Painter Properties have asked Airads to fly their banner over the event, advertising their new line in Spanish homes - Call 01843 830334 if you are interested - .

The weather forecast isn't great but as the event is close to home - walking distance - we have a better chance than most of finding a gap and taking some good photographs too.

Meanwhile our new aircraft for the 2007 season has arrived in Waco, Texas, from its previous home in Alabama, next stop UK.

February 20, 2007

No Shortcuts Please

We've had three enquiries this month - maybe from the same source - from people asking us to supply a banner only and not an aircraft, so for clarification, let's walk through the implications for anyone who hasn't given it much thought.

Someone has a friend with an aircraft who has offered to tow a banner of any size for a large public event. The friendly pilot may not have the right equipment, certified by the CAA on the aircraft or perhaps they have inherited it. The pilot may never have attempted flying a banner before either but "Hey" it looks easy and he will give it a go even though the aircraft may not be carrying the required insurance.

Now, if we were to make-up and lend a simple letter banner to a non-operator, we don't know if the unknown pilot would either attach it properly to the aircraft or fly it correctly. The potential liability implications for us in providing the banner would be horrendous if it were to become detached.

Best then to hire the banner and the aircraft from the same source and preferably one of the small handful of professional operators in the UK that can offer trained and experienced pilots and insurance. Aviation is not forgiving of shortcuts where safety is involved and it is safety and professionalism that remain our two principal concerns in providing an ublemished record of service across the UK

Quick Off the Mark - UK Superbikes GP

Corona Beer have been quick off the mark this year, booking Brands Hatch for August and this time, the British Superbikes Championship at Silverstone in May.

Corona already have one of the largest sheet banners in storage with us and this makes it easier for clients to call-up and book an event well in advance, knowing that all Airads has to do is to load the skybanner and fly to the nearest set-up airfield to make the display.

Meanwhile, Meridian News have asked if they can film "A day in the life" of well, us, following several clients in a single day's flying in the south east. We need to find a day when everything is fairly concentrated and most likely in early summer before the volume of work makes it possible to film.

February 18, 2007

Henley Surprise

Felt a little like the legendary pony express, trying to get through the bad weather for a "Happy Birthday" banner over Henley today.

It was down to 600 feet when we passed Biggin Hill on the way to set-up at Brimpton, just outside Aldermaston but fortunately, the cloud lifted enough for us to find the centre of Henley for a birthday surprise banner, organised by a lady for her partner over a restuarant in the town.

The way home left us in the cloud from Epsom all the way into the instrument approach at Manston, admirably handled by Suzy B. on her first flight with us. "It doesn't get much worse than this", I told her but at least the client has texted us with the message, "Thank U very much, fly back safe, love E.!

A good result amid a bad week of winter weather.

February 17, 2007

In the Murk over Kemble

Low cloud and fog prevented us displaying over Swindon for B&Q today.

While the weather is the south-east of the country, as far as High Wycombe was like a Spring day, with bright sunshine, to the West, the clouds rolled in leaving Kemble under a 700 foot ceiling and as low as 200 feet at Lynham by late afternoon.

We did our very best to make it all happen, descending through the cloud to Kemble to wait an hour to see if there was any improvement but it was not to be and we had to leave and climb back above the murk again towards London and Manston an hour later.

Better luck tomorrow perhaps with a birthday banner over Henley Upon Thames.

February 15, 2007

One More Aircraft for Summer 2007

Airads has today bought another aircraft to meet the anticipated demand from clients over the coming season. This is a second Cessna 172 - coming over from Alabama - but with a more powerful engine and long-range fuel tanks and will most likely be based at Rochester airport in Kent.

Valentine's Day was a "washout" this year with every airfield in the south-east shut, which is sad for the special messages that were booked on the day. We're attempting to move these onto the weekend for the clients who still wish to fly them.

This weekend you'll see us again over Swindon Town for B&Q - weather permitting - and on Sunday lunchtime over Henley town centre, with a "special" message to a lucky man from his girlfriend.

Welcome to new pilot Suzie Bazire, who joins, the legendary Captain "Bob" Shilling, James Bertram, me as Ops Director and our Chief Pilot John Waller, on the regular team this weekend.

February 12, 2007

Up & Up with Invicta

If you are vaguely interested, here's the link to this morning's Invicta FM breakfast show with the aerial banner stunt above Herne Bay and Canterbury involving James Hemmings.

Apparently, AudioBlogger is no more and I have had to use to upload the file, which has an irritating advertising message before the clip starts.

February 9, 2007

On Air with Invicta FM

We didn't think that the weather would be good enough but we just staggered into the air over Canterbury and North Kent with Invicta FM's James Hemming to record part of his show "on air", quite literally.

With James in the right seat with a microphone and a live connection to the studio, I think the pick-up was an eye-opener for him and I warned him to "squeeze" as we pulled up tight to collect his banner with its myspace address for his personal Myspace website; part of a competition he's running with fellow DJ, "Ali".

Congratulation to Sarah Fellows who won the banner competion on Meridian News!

Swindon tomorrow for B&Q again if the weather holds and then a busy schedule into Valentine's Day next week.

February 2, 2007

Meridian News Tonight

If you watch Meridian News from Monday of next week, they are scheduling a Valentine's Day phone-in competition, with an aerial banner flown by "you know who" over the love of the lucky winner.

Next week, we are also doing another "gig" with Invicta FM, taking DJ James Hemming of "James and Ali in the Morning" fame up for a ride, with a banner promoting the show. I don't think he quite realises what he's in for one we pull out of the dive to pick up his banner which says "". I hope he likes extreme roller-coaster rides!

January 28, 2007

B&Q Swindon has 200 Jobs - Tell Someone!

To Swindon town this Saturday for B&Q.

In fact the message was “B&Q 200 JOBS TELL SOMEONE”, celebrating the soon to be opening of a new B&Q megastore in the town.

We operated out of Kemble airfield – nice friendly people there and an easy, accommodating place to pick-up a banner from – and spent two hours sitting on top of Swindon, orbiting the town between the different shopping malls and the football ground, where it looked as if Swindon Town were playing at home.

The new B&Q is pretty close to being complete looking at it from above and as the message we were towing suggests, there are 200 jobs available for anyone who might be interested in working for the company.

Given that it’s January, we were pretty fortunate to get the job in at all over that distance. We’ve asked to do it for two more weekends, which may be asking a great deal of the British weather. Presently we are back at Manston again as our own private strip is completely waterlogged.

Next week, a job for Meridian News South-east for Valentine’s Day. I’ll tell you more later

January 21, 2007

Get Viper

Of course, when we got to the Big Brother house, Channel 4 TV had other ideas as the clip suggests....!

January 19, 2007

Big Brother Says BB Bullies Out!

I never thought I would watch Big Brother, let alone play a minor role in the publicity. We've been sitting above the Big Brother house this afternoon in the Airads aircraft towing a banner saying "BB Bullies Out." Sky News appear to have mixed up their schedule and the Sky "copter" left short of fuel before we arrived but a constant loop has been running on Sky News and the BBC picked it up too.

Sky News reports that Jade saw the banner from the hot tub which explains her behaviour with Shilpa later in the day. Can't say that I noticed her though!

However, on Sunday Jade denied Big Brother producers warned her that she had become an international figure of hate and advised her to apologise to Shilpa.

She said: "I wasn't briefed about what was going on outside. Big Brother can only be Big Brother - he's not allowed to tell you anything.

"But I knew a story had broken out because of the aircraft that were over the house. I said I thought it was something to do with me and Shilpa and the argument."

We were extremly lucky with the weather window at Denham, there should have been a howling gale blowing and there wasn't, although we did have our problems on the pick-up with a broken hook which forced us to run late.

A huge traffic jam along the M25 gave plenty of scope to display the message: "BB Bullies Out" on the way into Stapleford to drop the banner. From an advertising point of you I guess you can't buy the kind of coverage we saw today without spending a small fortune!

Strangely enough, another advertising agency called us with a request, in addition to The Sun newspaper. The former asked if we could drop a dummy Formula I car driven by a stuntman in a gorilla outfit, by helicopter into the Big Brother garden. You can imagine my reaction. Not possible in the nicest possible way... cheaper and easier to shoot the Gorilla I told the chap on the phone! Perhaps he did?

Photo courtesy of

January 16, 2007

The Right Stuff

If you've ever wondered what's required of a banner pilot, then it's alot like this clip at times but without some of the fringe benefits!

January 15, 2007

Tour de France 2007 with Airads

With the Tour de France arriving in South-east England in 2007, Airads is already fielding enquiries from interested companies

The three-day extravaganza begins with the opening ceremony in Trafalgar Square on Friday 6 July and continues with the prologue time trial around the streets of London on the Saturday. On the Sunday the focus shifts to Kent when Stage One of the race travels across the county and finishes against the historic backdrop of Canterbury Cathedral.

If you want to see your own message above the race, don't delay. Book today!