December 26, 2008
If I hadn't known it was Boxing Day, I might have thought of it as being a normal Saturday afternoon's trade!
December 24, 2008
December 3, 2008
November 15, 2008
Not the best of days to take photos with a 1,500 cloud base but I thought that curious readers might like to see the current progress of the world's largest greenhouse in Kent and the only place you are likely to have a bird's eye view of it all is here I suspect.
November 8, 2008
Friday was the first decent break in the weather for a week and offered just enough time and sunshine to take the required photos. No sign of Heather though. If she's any sense she'll be far away in the sunshine. Captain Snap would be too but needs a larger aircraft to get to the West Indies without a stop!
October 27, 2008
Northern Ireland was a washout and you'll understand why if you saw the news from the Lake District with two thousand runners stuck up a mountain in torrential rain and gales.
The cloud was too low to support the Chelsea game on Sunday but at least our luck was in for 'Heroes of Sport' over Manchester central on Friday afternoon.
So congratulation to "James" on his proposal to "Jo" of Doncaster this afternoon. Rather like that famous quip from the film, "'Shakespeare in Love' "It's a mystery to me but it all works out in the end."
October 11, 2008
Tomorrow, Sunday, looks set to start with fog and we have the beach races to cover for Proppa.com at Weston Supermare, with a fallback - if it's foggy - to the UK Superbikes Championships at Brands Hatch.
The late summer weather has bought out the lovers as well and I've to fly two marriage proposals within ninety-minutes; one over Whistable Harbour and the second past Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday afternoon. The 100% proposal success record still stands!
October 7, 2008
"I would like to say a very big thank you to you and your team at Airads for making the day a very special one for Emma and myself. I have been very impressed with your service and professionalism from start to finish. The weather was against you and despite this you still flew the banner!"
BBC Essex radio went looking for the mysterious Emma and recorded a nice interview on the subject as did the local paper.
September 26, 2008
The simple kerosene-burning jet turbines propelled him the 22 miles between Calais and Dover at speeds of up to 120 mph. The journey took just under 10 minutes.
The 49-year-old Rossy, who calls himself "Fusion Man," ignited the jets inside a plane before jumping out more than 8,000 feet above ground.
After a period of free fall he opened the wing and soared across the water. With no steering controls, the only way to change direction was like a bird, moving his head and back.
When he reached Dover, he released his parachute and drifted down gently before landing in a field with The Sun newspaper's welcome right behind him.
Rossy traced the route of French aviator Louis Bleriot, who became the first person to fly across the Channel in an aircraft in 1909.
It was absolute mayhem above the landing site, with unauthorised French pilots accompanying the Jet Man, not talking to air traffic control and presenting a real hazard to the camera helicopters and the banner aircraft.
September 21, 2008
Our presence clearly didn't help the score between Tottenham and Wigan; a nil, nil draw but arriving as I did just before the match started, I'm sure lots of people saw the banner; the same being true of the match at Middlesborough earlier.
It's a really big banner and 30 feet high and you have to appreciate the effect it has on the performance of a small aircraft. You have to watch something that big very carefully indeed and even the simplest manoeuvers demand considerable effort and attention; particularly to the aircraft speed and the potential for a stall.
It's certainly not an occupation for nervous flyers or even nervous pilots. Today with a nice collection of power lines situated on the climb out, attention to both detail and aircraft performance were absolutely vital.
September 13, 2008
The lucky lady, Annie, said "Yes" I'm told!
Tomorrow, it's over to the Lakeside shopping centre for another proposal and next week its more football matches, involving West Bromwich, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
Meanwhile, we have to frantically move the banners around between aircraft and pilots, rather like a bizarre game of musical chairs with the added excitement of not knowing whether UPS will either lose them or forget to pick them up.
September 9, 2008
See the video here.
September 3, 2008
Tuesday was the day of the COI public safety film at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight but while the brand new Coastguard helicopter had no problems operating, the strong winds made picking up the supporting banner impossible. Fortunately and racing back to Sandown on Wednesday, I managed to lift the banner over the pier before the wind became excessive again. To give you an idea of how strong the westerly wind was, I managed to return from Sandown to Manston in 50 minutes.
So up and coming this weekend if the weather allows - and it doesn't look hopeful - there's a Trades Union banner to do over Norfolk and next week, there's Liverpool Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City games to fly with the BT Vision football shirts! to
August 26, 2008
The COI are making some kind of beach/water safety TV advertisement and Airads has been asked to fly over to Sandown on the Isle of Wight, with a banner saying: "Do You Know Where The Kids Are?"
There's a slim chance that the forecast good weather for the coming weekend might just last into next week's and it would be a nice change to fly with the Sun out.
Today, we only managed to get one of the two aircraft booked for a display over Blackpool for the West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. a wall of cloud prevented the Harrogate-based Piper Cub from crossing the Pennines but one aircraft was still better than none in the end!
August 24, 2008
Next week it's the Bournemouth Airshow and a whole run of east coast premier league football games as we start to reach the busy peak of the aircraft banner season. Watching the closing cermony of the Beijing Olympics, it occurred to me that anyone interested in the possibility of an aircraft banner near the London Olympics in 2012really needs to start asking about it sooner rather than later. With only five or so capable aircraft in the country, the big advertising companies may be in for a surprise!
When I find a moment I will try and upload a couple of video clips from the Reading Festival today and place a YouTube link here.
August 19, 2008
Airads Operations Director, Simon Moores, commented: "I'm delighted that Airads has been selected as the aviation partner for this campaign. It's a significant operational challenge, with multiple aircraft over games on the same day and I very much hope that the summers changeable weather will relax long enough for us to be able to deliver all the flights sucessfully".
August 16, 2008
We hadn't expected to be able to run any of the weekend's programme with yet another pulse of low pressure appearing from the Atlantic but miracles happen and in this case all the banners flew exactly to time before the weather closed in.
So that was 'Helen' #3 proposed to and accepted - must be a romantic month to be a Helen - and the V-Festival at Chelmsford too. Coming-up of course is the Reading Festival and some filming for the Central Office of Information and it would be nice if before Autumn finally arrives, if we could just have two weeks of real summer weather.
August 8, 2008
If that isn't unusual enough then there's a third Helen coming-up in the next week, so another proposal surprise in store, which I hope will keep our 100% record.
Of course, 08/08/08 was a big day for weddings, as well as the Olympic Games and despite some rather nasty weather, we managed to achieve all of our flights on time. Tomorrow, Sunday, isn't looking so good, with a flight booked over the Climate Camp in Kent and a second banner over Ashford, with 40mph winds and rain forecast.
It's been a very difficult summer so far, with weather that has been more autumnal than August. with both Reading and Leeds festivals in a week, let's hope for a ray of sunshine before the summer disappears altogether.
July 17, 2008
Now we know. The Times newspaper was running a story on the predecessor of the famous ME 109 but it's a pity the author can't spell 'Messerschmitt'.
Giles, the auther conveniently describes the sever cloudburst that prevented us towing a wedding banner just next door to the airfield:
"Now that we were airborne, pulling Gs seemed mercifully out of the question. A wall of black cloud was marching in from the West. We levelled out at 1200 feet and James muttered something into his headset. “What was that?” He’d been telling Air Traffic Control we were going straight back down."
You can find The Times ME108 video story here.
The trouble is, that it will take some weeks I understand before the 'Googlebot' revisits and clears the offending tags and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it other thanassure visitors that http://www.airads.co.uk/ which is hosted by UK company ShopCreator, appears to be perfectly safe and owned and administered by us.
Here, in in conclusion is the result of a McAfee site scan of the main website: "We tested this site (airads.co.uk) and didn't find any significant problems."
More information at
July 15, 2008
Organised by the TUC, this festival takes place in the village of Tolpuddle, Dorset and takes place from Friday the 18th to Sunday the 20th July. One of the banners we are flying is for the RMT Union – we flew it at the miners march in Durham last week – and one is for the Community trades union.
Last year the weather was pretty miserable on the same occasion and so we are hoping for clear skies, for a change this summer at least.
On Saturday we are at Kemble and operating around Swindon, advertising the Womad, ‘Charlton Park 2008 Festival’ which takes place between 25th and 27th July at Malmesbury in Wiltshire.
June 28, 2008
June 20, 2008
The RMT Union have opted for one of our largest and a recommendation for clients is that letters be at least 5' tall to be easily read from the ground. There's sometimes a temptation to cram in as big a message as possible into an aircraft banner without realising that small type is very difficult to see fromt he ground.
Keep it short and simple and that, in our experience normally works the best!
June 15, 2008
"Clare & Anna Show Us Your Hooters!"
But what can it mean I wonder?
Anyway, 'Hooters' aside, we flew the 'Welovefestivals.com' banner too and I've loaded seventy aerial photographs of the festival from both days for you to see here on Flickr.com and a complete video will be up on YouTube in the next couple of days. Come back here to find the link or look for 'AiradsUK' on YouTube.
If you have any photos of your own of the aircraft in flight over the festival, please send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find the story and photos on The Isle of Wight Beacon website here.
Pictured, me doing some planning at Bembridge and today's co-pilot Charles. I quite forgot to take a photo of Co-pilot Jason yesterday, so next time mate!
June 14, 2008
Today we had John propose to Grete and then surprise, surprise, Grete propose to John, followed by a final message to Jacqui to round off the day. You can see this clip here on Meridian News Tonight.
It was one of those remarkable coincidences that two people chose an aircraft banner to propose to each other on he same afternoon and I'm sure, it went down well with the 30,000 or more people milling around below.
John emailed us afterwards with this message: "Just a short note to say thanks for a fantastic day for Grete and I, One that we will never forget thanks to you guys. So glad you got me up first followed by Grete, awesome. Many thanks"!
Back to the island on Sunday then, to tow a banner for two hours over the event with the message "Welovefestivals.com".
Give us a wave!
May 26, 2008
Around 50,000 fans squeezed into Queen Victoria Square and from above the streets appeared packed, all the way from the football ground.
The flight itself was a matter of luck. The strong wind conditions were arguably 'out of bounds' but fortune smiled on the attempt and the banner was airborne on time.
May 25, 2008
With no scheduled flights on for Airads today, the youngest member of our team, thirteen-year old Charlotte, managed to persuade the Red Arrows to sign her logbook at Manston today. As she's been flying with her father since the tender age of seven, she's planning on a career in aviation and from the photograph, she's obviously making the right friends!
May 14, 2008
As these are working aircraft, they are subject to 50 hour servicing and a complete annual maintenance regime every twelve months. Very expensive and they never work out to suit the schedule. Once you reach 50 hours, that's it. Everything stops until the full maintenance check has been done at an authorised engineering facility; and you can't just roll-up like QuickFit!
As there's no flying, I've been playing with the video editing software again; I don't get much chance to experiment. So here's our entry for the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.
Seriously though, we were asked by a client if we could fly the event but French 'Red Tape' stood in the way, which is ironic, in a way, as both my grandparents were big 'Stars' of the pre-war French cinema and one is buried there.
May 10, 2008
We are back again on Sunday morning and lunchtime and I hope to be able to put together a short, 'YouTube' video for people to watch.
In the meantime, here's a link to all today's aerial photos of the event, taken as we circled it. The weather was great!
May 1, 2008
April 27, 2008
We used Lydd Airport for the first time in ages to operate from and they were extremely helpful. Below, there's a small YouTube video of the view back into the airport when the job was done.
Next weekend, it's Skegness for two days. Last year, the early Bank Holiday flights were 'Weathered-off' so fingers crossed to avoid disappointment this year.
I'm still amazed that nobody has contacted us over Radio One's 'Big Day' next month, outside Maidstone. With a quarter of a million ticket applications and the event only two minutes flying time away, it's a prime location for aircraft-based advertising.
April 25, 2008
The video, shot by Alasdair Bruce, shows Thanet from above and the approach in Manston airport's runway 28.
April 22, 2008
Given that Monday's weather was dire, I didn't have any great hopes that we might be able to do it but today, by remarkable contrast, was like an early summer's day, with glorious sunshine over the south-east of England.
And so it was back to Daymns Hall, now renamed as Hornchurch airfield, to set-up and collect the banner for the 'Fun Day' which all went to plan and included a short YouTube video as well.
We must buy a new camcorder with so many customer videos now going online.
April 10, 2008
April 9, 2008
Police suspect arson and one wonders whether the damage to this historic wooden structure is too much to be repaired?
April 7, 2008
The banner over Everton , for the fans yesterday, Sunday, was a bit of luck, given the weather so Free Tibet's loss was arguably Everton's gain.
April 5, 2008
Having gained permission to land late at Rochester this Sunday, we've reached our deadline for a decision and have heard nothing further from one client who asked if we might 'surprise' the finish of the Olympic torch ceremony with a 'FREE TIBET' banner. On a personal note, I think that the message might well have made a more peaceful impact than demonstrators lining the route of the torch relay but then it's not for us to judge such things as we simply facilitate an airborne message request for our clients.
March 30, 2008
The impossible we can achieve but miracles can present us with a real challenge!
March 15, 2008
Departing in minimal visibility, we were in the cloud past Rochester and pretty much until Ockham, remaining "VFR on top" at 2000 feet but found, to our surprise as we passed Blackbushe that the weather, although not great, looked good enough for the flight.
While one of us filmed, AIRADS Chief Pilot, John Waller, took BALPA's Head of Flight Safety, Carolyn Evans, along as co-pilot. (Pictured) Off first towards Reading and then with the approval and control of Heathrow ATC, along the M4 towards Slough and the Burnham beacon.
By then the rain had started and the cloudbase was starting to fall but John, as you can see from the video, bought back a very wet and "draggy" banner to drop at Brimpton without mishap.
It was raining so hard, I couldn't get any decent photos! Because the background was so dull, the banner photo is colour enhanced which is why you can see the smaller tail-flag 'parachute' - actually a different colour which normally goes unnoticed - at the end of the banner. Otherwise it wouldn't fly horizontal!
I'm looking forward to getting a souvenir T-shirt!
Footnote: A warm welcome to all the BALPA members from all around the globe that are visiting this website in large numbers from Cape Town to Tokyo - from looking at the traffic log - . If you don't have the Adobe Flash Player installed on your PC, you won't be able to see the You Tube video. Flash Player is easily downloadable but on some public PCs it's either not installed of turned-off with the Active-X controls for security purposes.
March 1, 2008
Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I can now share this short clip with any Spitfire fans or history enthusiasts.
The rain that day was so bad that the fresh blue paint on the Spitfire started to wash off!
February 29, 2008
It's not much fun when it gets that turbulent and the temptation is to simply say "No" than give it a try but miracles sometimes happen and I hope they'll both be very happy together!
You'll see how close we have to work to the ground in this picture from this afternoon.
February 28, 2008
Since 'Captain Bob' decided to start flying a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter, with its leather fitttings and generous mini bar, fixed wing aircraft have become a little passe but the old skills were very much in evidence, with a neat pick-up and an even neater drop, right between the posts.
The day started 'Murky' and didn't really improve that match. Much of North Croydon had a fog bank sitting neatly over the top of it and so we had to be a little imaginative moving around the outskirts and the M25 to avoid it. Hopefully, the visibility will be a little better tomorrow.
Here's a quick video of the return to Rochester airport.
February 27, 2008
February 23, 2008
Not exactly the finest weather to be out on the pier, drizzle and low cloud but like the fabled "Pony Express" Airads managed to get there and the girl said "Yes". Another succesful marriage proposal to add to our 100% record!
Captain Cupid Strikes again!
I've attached a short YouTube video. It's not great as I only had my little camera with me and the light was very poor. Hope you can see the major details though!
February 12, 2008
January 15, 2008
Valentine's Day and the Leap Year are approaching fast. You can tell because it's increasingly wet and windy, making it very awkward for us to operate. Fingers crossed we aren't rained-off in February again!