...Banner Towers Say "I Told You So"

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Steve Phillips has nothing against the Cleveland National Air Show but he's hoping the FAA sticks to its guns keep reading. Phillips, of Philadelphia, is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of banner towers and promotional hot-air balloon pilots effectively grounded by the same rule that is causing problems in Cleveland. He said the legitimate concerns of the banner-towing and balloon companies were ignored when the law was enacted and he's hoping the public outcry over the air show will result in Congress' revisiting the issue. "I hope they go ahead and cancel this thing so we can get some kind of rational process in place [to resume stadium overflights.]" Phillips was particularly critical of what he said was AOPA's lack of action to prevent the law from being enacted. He noted AOPA "went ballistic" when new rules were proposed to limit sightseeing and charity fundraising flights but said the banner towers' concerns were not acted upon. "My real objection has been AOPA's lack of action on this issue," he said. "We're the only segment of general aviation that has its own special law." AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy denied Phillips's allegations, saying AOPA lobbied extensively and donated money to the banner towers to help them establish their own lobbying group. "It was not for a lack of effort on AOPA's part," Dancy said. "To say that we did not try hard enough to keep this bill from being passed is simply not true."