Tue, Jun 29, 2010
Authorities Say It Had Nothing To Do With The Banner
An airplane towing a banner which read "Tiger: Are You My
Daddy?" was asked to leave the airspace near the U.S. Open in
Pebble Beach, CA, on Sunday. While the FBI says such a request near
a large gathering of people is not uncommon, the FAA tells a
A client of National Sky Ads had planned to have two banners
flown near the golf tournament Sunday, but only one managed to be
displayed before the pilot was contacted and asked to change his
flight path. Company spokesman Ted Dereeder said the pilot had not
violated any airspace rules when towing the first banner. Dereeder
told The Mercury News that the plane had stayed at least a
half-mile away from the golf course.
The FBI request was made through the control tower at Monterey
Peninsula Airport. Special Agent Joseph Schadler said the request
was made because of safety concerns. He said the agency wasn't even
aware the plane was towing a banner. "It happens every single time,
every single golf tournament that we are involved in. There's no
difference in what happened on Sunday or what didn't happen on
Sunday," he said.
But the FAA said that the FBI normally doesn't get involved in
such matters unless there is criminal activity involved. FAA
spokesman Lynn Lunsford said that there was no record of the
request being filed with ATC or the FAA.
Schadler said he did not know if the request was made by an FBI
agent, or by someone involved with U.S. Open security. Lunsford
said that while the FAA often gets requests for TFR's over golf
tournaments, they are routinely denied. "We have not to date put
anything like that in over any of these golf tournaments," he
Monterey County Sheriff's Commander Mike Richards said that
there was only one other banner plane in the area, towing an
advertisement for beer, which was reportedly not asked to divert
away from the golf course. As to the plane towing the Tiger taunt?
"It was a request, not an order," Richards said.
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