Mon, Mar 22, 2004
Parasail Sideswipes Aerial Banner
The skies have become rather crowded over the beach at Gulf
Shores (AL), and here's proof: a parasail rider collided last week
with a banner towed by a low-flying aircraft.
It happened on Thursday when the parasail tow rope, connected to
a boat in the Gulf of Mexico, made contact with a towed banner. The
banner-release mechanism on the towing aircraft worked as
advertised. The woman riding beneath the parasail canopy was
Now, owners of both parasail and banner-towing operations are to
sit down Friday night and talk about sharing the skies.
"It's a way to try to get everyone to work together," said Gulf
Shores Airport manager Russ Kilgore.
The FAA continues to investigate the incident, but parasail
operator tells www.al.com he's already
been cleared by federal investigators. Steve Vrondran, owner of
Perdido Parasail, says his boat was almost stationary in the Gulf
when the accident occurred, at about 1:00 pm CST. He says the
parasail was no higher than 300 feet above the water when it was
bumped by the banner. Usually, he says, banner-towing aircraft
operate no lower than 400 feet.
So far, the owners of Gulf Air Aviation, which owns the
banner-towing aircraft, have not commented on the incident.
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