July 20, 2012 North Myrtle Beach, SC – If you have ever been at the beach, you have seen them flying over the ocean making repetitive trips up and down the coast. Banner planes are an expected part of the summer scene as are sea gulls and pelicans flying over the shoreline. But they are more exciting when the pilot decides to try to make them into seaplanes.
Folks have heard about the Wednesday sea landing by the banner plane pilot on the 18th. According to witnesses, when the plane made a turn it caught the banner.
Police responded and found the plane about 150 yards from shore. Lifeguards had attempted to rescue the pilot who had made it out of the plane shortly before impact and began swimming towards shore. He was rescued by a jet skier from North Myrtle Beach Watersports.
Since the plane crashed, tide and wind has carried it farther off shore. Initial plans to retrieve it have been scrapped for the time being and a boat is monitoring its location.
Vacationing Tom Warren was on hand and captured the action.
But most folks are not aware that just three days earlier, another banner plane crashed. The National Transportation Safety Report says the incident occured at Grand Strand Airport and the plane sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported no injuries. He made a forced landing beyond the banner tow grass area, clearing a berm and colliding with the airport perimeter fence. The airplane nosed over and came to a complete stop and the engine stopped running. The pilot stated he did not experienced any mechanical problems with the airframe or flight controls before the accident.
The owner of both planes is Barnstomers Flite Signs, Inc. that operates out of the Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach. Barnstormer owns a total of eight planes, according to South Carolina Aircraft Registrations. All are either Piper PA-18 or PA-12 and were manufactured from 1946 to 1956.