They are a familiar sight across the sky in outdoor sporting events on clear, sunny days: Small, single-person airplanes stringing along bannered messages for beer, banks, or local businesses.
But piloting one of these aerial advertising missions involves dangerous manoeuvers and complex techniques that may have led to the death of a young Whitby man near Buttonville airport Sunday.
Andrew Archer, 23, was on an aerial advertising mission late Sunday afternoon when his plane crashed into a parking lot in the 16th Avenue and Highway 404 area near Buttonville Municipal Airport.
The aircraft, a black Cessna 172, was owned by Skywords Inc., a Toronto-based company that offers “outdoor advertising solutions” to businesses, as well as airborne traffic reports.
According to some members of the aviation community, aerial advertising is a low-paying entry-level job that many young pilots like Archer choose to do in order to log more flying hours required for other positions.
However, due to the aggressive manoeuvring the pilots have to complete at a low altitude, the job is potentially quite dangerous, exposing young pilots to an inordinate amount of risk.