If only....
he had branded his canopy before flying into the Statue of Liberty, imagine the world-wide exposure!

In any form of promotions there are a few simple objectives to be achieved in order for a logo or message to achieve an impact:

1. Visibility.
Apart from the subliminal aspects of advertising, the more bold and visible a logo is the higher impact it will usually have.

2. Location.
Taking branding directly to your specific target market, eliminates the drawbacks of static advertising. There are no long expensive set up times and no cost involved in flying the banner to the advertising site. (From unpacking the car to take off- approx 5 min)

3. Impact.
If people leave after viewing your message and the image consistently lingers in their mind or is immediately conjured up when a similar stimulus is viewed or thought about, you have created a long lasting impact. An impact may be the result of something unusual, attractive or wildly stimulating. With powered paragliding as an advertising tool, all of the above objectives are met over and over again. Man's (and OK woman`s too!) desire for excitement, even if it is in an armchair capacity, means when ever the product is remembered or something similar is brought into the subconscious, an immediate image of that initial stimulus will be re introduced into the conscious, and instead of remembering an unmarked powered paraglider for example, he will talk about “remember that Gunston powered paraglider” or motorized “thing”with Joe Cools on.

Subconsciously it is the unique form of flying that is brought to the surface by a variety of stimuli, however when consciously aired, it is inevitably the branding that is referred to. A number of options are available when using PPGs as advertising tools.

Most commonly letters are attached to the undersurface of the wing. It is difficult to screen print on paraglider material because of the silicon protective layer that overlays the rip stop nylon. Each letter is hand cut out and attached.

These may be removed and new branding reattached. As far as towing a banner is concerned, this is very feasible, however does not provide the same surface area as canopy branding does. The flag is either rolled up and placed in the harness pocket or attached below the harness and take off undertaken with it laid out on the ground. Most important is to remember the rotating prop that will suck in everything and anything if given half a chance

A weight will also have to be attached to facilitate the correct hang of the banner. Just remember that now there is one to two metres of weight hanging below one's seat, and when and if you have the urge to buzz your mate, bear in mind you may take his head off.

A word of warning, when flying for clients, some understandably are fairly fanatical about having their branding in the air, and are prepared to pay huge fines for taking their name where maximum exposure is gained. This may include over golf courses, main streets of tows, beach events and stadiums. If the legalities do not faze you bear in mind, engines do stop and rotor (turbulence caused by wing rolling over an object), do exist.

I have seen gliders up telephone poles, on top of buildings and in the sea. Propellers have broken off, pulleys have sheared off and in the early days bits of engine have been lost.

Remember this at all times when flying advertising. You are usually over high profile events with a lot of very expensive material below you. The clients reputation (and your's I suppose) is at stake, and if you are to renew or obtain new contracts or avoid expensive litigation- don`t screw up. Third party insurance is usually carried by the client, however make sure it covers aerial advertising. If negligence can be proved on your part, the insurance more that likely will not stand anyway. Now you probably asking “how do you take branding into controlled airspace”, when even most microlights and a lot of small planes are excluded. Well it`s simple.

There is an instrument called a transponder. When programmed, this will give the nearest airport a direct indication of where you are and at what altitude you are flying at.(so don`t tell them you're at 500` when in fact you are at 3000` 20 km`s from where you supposed to be!) This transponder is attached to the harness, an aerial mounted on the frame, a 12v battery carried in the harness pocket and an airband radio carried, in order to communicate with the respective airport.

A flight plan will also have to be submitted. This will inform the airport of all your intentions, such as flight time, altitude atc. As you can see a bit of effort and additional expense is now required, which brings me onto the type of sponsorship deals available.

Sponsorship is a great way of flying for free. Depending on the deal, the client either purchases the entire set up (paramotor & canopy- around R30 000 new and R20 000 second hand with the logo / lettering around an additional R1500 ), and contracts you to fly at specific events or on and off throughout the day either for a fee or as part of your obligation. As mentioned this may be in designated areas and additional equipment may have to be acquired.

<<Views of Umsloti - Kwa Zulu Natal - South Africa
- Chris' view of Umsloti -

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