July 4, 2011, Vancouver, Wash., Cessna 182A Skylane


The banner-tow pilot approached the pickup point to catch the rope with his tail hook. Shortly after his initial pitch-up maneuver to hook the rope, the pilot observed through a mirror that the rope was not attached to his tail hook. Photos taken of the airplane in the air by a witness show the tow rope hooked around the nose gear and looped over the right horizontal stabilizer.

Unable to release the banner, the pilot returned to land on the grassy area next to the runway. As the airplane descended, the banner contacted the ground, resulting in a significant amount of drag. The airplane contacted the ground hard, substantially damaging its firewall.


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