View Full Version : Aerial, scrolling LED banners

09-03-2007, 10:06 AM
I've got a lot more to say on this topic, but it's a bad day... for now a few FYI type things...

August 31, 2007 - Friday

Ron Paul Aerial Campaign Information
Category: News and Politics


Due to the design of the sign installed onto the aircraft, we must fly less than 80 miles/hour. This prevents us from traveling long distances, but we are able to cover the State of Florida. Traveling costs will need to be considered to cover the cost of fuel.


While flying for a Ron Paul event, we would like to invite all Ron Paul supporters to advertise their businesses for deeply discounted rates. While Skyspot is flying an event, there will be a representative on the ground accepting donatations. Skyspot and the Ron Paul aerial campaign are supported solely by grassroot donations. Please help keep Ron Paul's name in lights. Ad rates vary by event. Please email skyspotadvertising@yahoo.com or call us at (863) 838-3939


Sept 7 St. Petersburg First Friday and Rudy Guiliani Fundraiser

Oct 21 Orlando, FL FOX Republican Debate

Nov 2 Gainesville, FL Gator Growl

Nov 28 St. Petersburg CNN/YouTube Republican Debate

Please check back often for calendar updates. Political fundraisers/rallies are often announced at the last minute.

If you would like to mail a donation to us:

Skyspot Advertising, LLC

3616 Harden Blvd. 120

Lakeland, FL 33803

Thank you for your support,

Michelle and Roger

Team 8. Sennetech: Lighted Aerial Character Display Module

Aircraft banner towing is a popular way of advertising at sporting events, holiday celeberations, etc. However, it is usually restricted to daytime operation. The goal of this project would be to design a modular display system that would allow an aircraft to tow a sign displaying up to a 20-character on each side message (i.e., 20 modules hooked together). LEDís are the likely light-emitting devices, but control of which LEDís are illuminated on each segment and how power is managed are among the design issues. Goal is to prototype and fly a two-character (two-module) banner as proof of concept, with a PC in the airplane controlling the message displayed. Early steps must determine what density of LEDís and what brightness/power/color/viewing angles will best satisfy the needs, and how ďproductionĒ modules would eventually be built. Sponsor will assist team in assessing practicality of various approaches.

(they didn't put a report online)
There are very few banner towing companies that are outfitted to do this. Can't find the link now, but IIRC it costs about $36,000 to outfit an aircraft or helicopter to do it. biigtop.com is one company that should be able to sell you the rig or put you in touch with companies that can do it. OTOH: several groups have hired normal banner towing aircraft - this costs $7-800hr, but if you have any pilots w/ an aircraft in your group it costs around $1,200 to get up to fly one banner at a time with a letter reset between flights for different messages. Considerable savings here if you want to do it regularly. If the plane already has a tow hook for gliders, that cost goes down significantly. The aircraft has to fly fairly slowly. You have to get a FAA waver that is fairly straight forward and there are some specialized flight procedures, but it's not that complicated. The person that recommended a blimp was onto something - check this out:


though in this case, it appears to be a rear projection setup. Others have done projection on balloons - think bubble wrap and LED's... A 5' advertising balloon costs about $12-14, takes $30 of He to fill and will stay aloft for 1.5 - 2 weeks. It will lift over 4 pounds. LED's don't weigh much and sip electricity. Power supplies could be on the ground - and I've got a chart somewhere about how much wire weighs. If it's kept under 150' in the air, there are no FAA regulations beyond so far away from power lines, highways and airports... Any bored EE majors out there?

I'd tried pitching a program like this to the campaign back in Feb/March and got no interest. Tried later and got no interest. Tried pitching it to supporters on the ronpaulforums.com and got no interest. That was originally for a program to develop a homebrew LED scrolling sign and putting together / sending out kits with instructions to supporters so they could build the things and mount them on vehicles to park in sight of beltways (of which there are a lot in this country - all of them turning into parking lots during rush hour at predictable spots). A related project was refining a project in Make Magazine that turned a van into a big screen TV. These are already used in Vancouver and TX for advertising and based on rear projection of a LCD projector - less powerful than those needed for the building projection like has been done in NYC. The concept was to offer $1,000 grants to nerds and engineering students DARPA style - high risk, high payoff. They didn't like it.

As an aside, R/C aircraft have gotten fairly large and are basically immune from FAA regs, they can fly a lot lower and some enthusiasts have outfitted them to fly banners... They fly a lot lower than the 1,000' min altitude manned aircraft towing banners are required to fly, so letters can be a lot smaller - 4"-5" vs 5'-7'.

Well, I said more than I meant to here, but I hope that primed some of your creative juices.