I have just spent the afternoon towing an aircraft banner around Canterbury advertising 20% off pine furniture. It was a new experience and when banner-man, Bob Shilling of 'Airads' poked his head around the door of my aircraft and asked if I wanted to come along for the ride. Having admired his low-level 'Kamikaze' towing routine in the past I could hardly refuse a minor supporting role in the right-hand seat of his Cessna 172.

Picking up a one hundred foot banner with an aircraft isn't easy and involves a dive-bomber-like approach to the field to try and hook the banner rope which is perched between two six foot poles. The approach and the departure flight path resembles a large 'U' in the air and you keep on trying until the sudden violent tug and drop in airspeed, tells you that the banner is streaming behind the aircraft.

Bob tells me he used to tow banners over Daytona beach and so Canterbury, Dover and the Kent coast must seem a little tame by comparison. Last month, the French authorities became quite upset when he towed a P&O Ferries banner over the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais so there obviously are hidden charms to the job.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Computer Weekly has decided to run my thirty-five page report on Trustworthy Computing as a 'special feature', in time for the InfoSec show in London, later this month. This means that if your'e interested, you should be able to download it from the magazine's website very soon. Don't however expect to see it promoted on a banner behind Bob's aircraft or anyone else's.


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