Tiger banner plane's owner upset over inspection

Says he has more Tiger banners that might be seen in future

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 6:00 PM
Last updated Thursday, April 15, 2010 3:00 PM
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The owner of a company that flew banners over the Masters Tournament  mocking Tiger Woods' sex scandal said today that his client's freedom of speech rights were "trampled."
An inspection ordered by the agency after the flights over Augusta National on Thursday was a "sort of a bogus write-up," said Jim Miller, owner of Air America Aerial Ads in Genoa, Ohio.
Two FAA flight safety inspectors found the banner-towing plane was in need of repairs for a couple of loose or missing screws and a seat belt that had a faded-out certification label.
The finding required repairs before the plane could again fly banners, giving the pilot the option of getting the work done locally or at its home base in Ohio. The company returned to Ohio the next day .
"We can all read between the lines," Miller said, adding that he thinks the plane's mission was intentionally halted. "They'll deny it and I'll feel it is (intentional)."
FAA officials said they received a report from a local FAA flight tower, expressing concern about the plane flying over the large crowds at the Masters. The FAA has said that no outside the agency called to complain.
On Monday, The Chronicle filed an open records request with the FAA for the initial report, and it was being processed on Tuesday.
 On Tuesday, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen  corroborated Miller's version of the seat belt finding, and said there were several missing screws and some loose fasteners on the  engine covering  or cowling.
"There could have been a significant issue if the plane malfunctioned over a large population of people."
She said the seat belt issue alone "would not have created a situation in which we issued the condition notice."
Besides the FAA inspection, Miller said, "I had the Masters calling me personally begging what it would take to make the airplane to go away."
A club spokesman confirmed Tuesday that a call was made to Miller,  requesting  he not fly over anymore because the banners weren't in good taste.
Miller  said that in the past 12 months the banner-towing plane in question has had approximately 10 inspections and no problems had been found before last week.
As for who paid for the banner display , Miller would only say that the order was placed by an advertising agency broker that had likely been paid by someone else to do so. Even if he knew the client's name, he said, he wouldn't   reveal  it.
 He said  there were five banners that were to be flown over the Masters, but just two made it up on Thursday. The first read: Tiger: Did you mean Bootyism?" The second read: "Sex addict? Yeah. Right. Sure. Me too."
Miller wouldn't say what the other three banners said. Asked if they could be seen the next time Woods participates in a tournament, Miller replied: "That's up to the client."
He said he currently doesn't have any additional orders for banners making fun of  Woods but wouldn't be surprised if that happens.
He said he had no problem with the banners, noting that people see much worse on TV every day.
"I'm sure it's offended some people," he said, but then added, "I know for a fact a lot of people have chuckled about it."
And he's laughing all the way to the bank.
"This has done wonders for my business," he said .

Tiger Woods waits to putt on the third green as a plane tows a banner over the Augusta National Golf Club during the first round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Thursday, April 8, 2010.   AP Photo/ Rob Carr
AP Photo/ Rob Carr
Tiger Woods waits to putt on the third green as a plane tows a banner over the Augusta National Golf Club during the first round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Thursday, April 8, 2010.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com

Comments (26) Add comment
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Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 04/13/10 - 05:48 pm
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Key words here "This has done

Key words here "This has done wonders for my business."

justus4
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justus4 04/13/10 - 06:20 pm
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In today's hyper-attention to
Unpublished

In today's hyper-attention to aviation and its possibility of doing great destruction, this guy MUST know he got off easy. But he not only got off, he escaped charges for his reckless behavior... and he's talking about his rights? Wow! This is just another example of U know what.

corgimom
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corgimom 04/13/10 - 06:25 pm
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Poor taste? Who made Tiger

Poor taste? Who made Tiger Woods do what he did? If you want to hold someone responsible, hold Tiger Woods responsible. I think it's in pretty poor taste for a married man with two children to run around with skanky women because of a supposed "sex addiction", and he wasn't concerned about good taste when he was doing that.

AWyld1
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AWyld1 04/13/10 - 06:26 pm
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Another example of freedom of

Another example of freedom of speech unless those in power don't like what you say? Is that what you meant justus?

Insider Information
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Insider Information 04/13/10 - 06:30 pm
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Look up in the sky! It's a

Look up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a couple of loose screws and a faded seat belt. Talk about bionic vision. Glad to see that the truth is coming out. It's amazing how everyone rants and raves about free speech until it is speech that they personally don't like. The Constitution protects speech. It doesn't just protect tasteful speech. I hope to see Mr. Miller back next year.

veggie-d
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veggie-d 04/13/10 - 06:44 pm
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the immense political and

the immense political and financial power of the augusta national has once again been demonstrated...betcha somebody at the FAA gets a batch of badges next year!

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 04/13/10 - 07:13 pm
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I love Tiger as a golfer but,

I love Tiger as a golfer but, these are part of the "lumps" he has to take for his unacceptable behavior. He ought to be ashamed and embarrassed about the whole mess. He can no longer ignore, pretend, or hide. Facing things like this, must be part of the healing process. However, the flyovers should not have interrupted game play for any of the golfers. It should have been timed differently in respect to the other golfers.

dwb619
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dwb619 04/13/10 - 07:19 pm
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Anybody remember the fifteen

Anybody remember the fifteen year-old kid that was shot in the back for fishing in one of THE NATIONALS pond in the early `80s. Ruled justifiable homicide ,self defense. Now thats influence,when a security guard can shot a kid in the back as he is running away!

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 04/13/10 - 07:37 pm
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dwb619, are you serious? I

dwb619, are you serious? I did not live here in the '80's. That's disgusting!

disssman
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disssman 04/13/10 - 07:37 pm
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I see a little law suit to

I see a little law suit to recoup the lost wages and cost of returning to home base. It will be paid post haste with the stipulation that nothing can be said. Which is OK if thats what they agree on. I would hope for a congressional investigation of the FAA for its actions.

veggie-d
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veggie-d 04/13/10 - 08:30 pm
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dwb619...that "kid" did NOT

dwb619...that "kid" did NOT die...i know that guy pretty well. his dad was a caddy and he had permission to be fishing there...he just got scared and ran when security approached...he is a TALL guy and security thought he was an adult trespasser...(still no reason to blast him in the back!)...he got peppered pretty good/bad in the back with shotgun pellets. it was NOT ruled justifiable/self-defense...he settled outta court.

he worked locally for several years in the landscape business, in the mid-late 80's. the rumors of his death have been GREATLY exaggerated...

edieed321
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edieed321 04/13/10 - 08:37 pm
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In Augusta, the Masters comes

In Augusta, the Masters comes before any "rights". Just ask Martha Burke.

dwb619
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dwb619 04/13/10 - 08:42 pm
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I think I am remembering

I think I am remembering correctly, from what was in the Chronicle about the incident. It was reported that two people were shot, one died. They had entered the National property from the Augusta Country Club . Is this the same incident?

jack
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jack 04/13/10 - 08:56 pm
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grouse Tuesday, Apr. 13 7:00

grouse
Tuesday, Apr. 13 7:00 PM

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There's no excuse for poor taste...

I agree and Tiger's explitives on an open mike to world is in the poorest taste.

BuckeyeInGA
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BuckeyeInGA 04/13/10 - 08:56 pm
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jack
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jack 04/13/10 - 09:00 pm
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321m Burje got her press time

321m Burje got her press time (and that was about all that showed up).

towerflower
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towerflower 04/13/10 - 09:03 pm
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The owner is correct, his

The owner is correct, his rights were violated. He was the subject of an inspection of not only 1 inspector but 2. To divert safety inspectors from their normal job functions to carry out a witch hunt is unbelievable. How many man hours were wasted while they went over this plane from forward to aft--and the most was a few loose/missing screws and a faded certificate on a seat belt. The Air Trafffic Manager, which was reported to request the investigation, should be replaced on the basis that he doesn't know the rules in which he is entrusted to enforce. He should know the rules for a/c flying over populated areas and as long as that a/c was at 1000' above the crowds he was legal and if the pilot wasn't then he as a manager should have violated him on the spot--but that didn't happen did it? The company followed the rules and just because someone doesn't like it they tried to shut them down. I hope he goes after the FAA for abuse of power.

dwb619
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dwb619 04/13/10 - 09:11 pm
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Buckeye In Ga, thank

Buckeye In Ga, thank you,passing years and memory cannot argue with the straight facts.

Discussionstarter
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Discussionstarter 04/13/10 - 09:15 pm
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I called the FAA on Sunday...

I called the FAA on Sunday... at the start of the Masters. We had a plane flying low over our house for over 45 minutes... in a tight circle. I live near where Tiger was staying... so I guess it was the media. They confirmed the plane on radar but that was all they did. Sounds like a little 'governmental harrassment' with the banner-airplane.

J.W.
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J.W. 04/13/10 - 09:21 pm
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What did they expect? Damn

What did they expect? Damn Yankees! Mess with Augusta and the Masters Tourney and this is what you get. Keep your butts in Ohio. Lucky it didn't get shot down.

veggie-d
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veggie-d 04/13/10 - 10:19 pm
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if nuttiness like the plane

if nuttiness like the plane and the guy diving into the pond this year continues at the tournament, the national will just close the gates to spectators except those invited personally. they don't need the money and could easily make up lost dollars by selling tickets to a handful of VERY ELITE people at 10-20X current face value and reduce the crowds by 2/3...

the national is not into this as much for the money, as they are for the "prestige"...they ALL have plenty of money already...

this pilot is just stirring up controversy to attract attention to his struggling business...and from the looks of it, he feels like he's not getting enough attention...so he'll likely "amp it up".

swift and severe action will likely be the future consequence for folks who think they can "buzz the course" ANY time of year...the "fly over tours"/air traffic would get RIDICULOUS in the airspace near the course.

Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 04/13/10 - 10:12 pm
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Hardly ever that I can say

Hardly ever that I can say this so here goes...I have to agree with Justus4 on this one. First, he can stop his whining since he was given an option to repair his problems locally and HE chose to fly back to Ohio, probably so he could get more press and sympathy. He gets no sympathy from logical thinking safety minded individuals. He had no business flying in an area where he and all other planes were advised not to, even if it wasn't 100% prohibited. The FAA however, does need to review guidelines as planes such as these have no business flying over large crowds. As for suing the FAA, sorry, that can't happen and anyways, by his own admission his plane did not meet their requirements, even if considered small by some - frankly anyone who makes fun or thinks it ok to have a plane flying with missing bolts on it over large crowds isn't the brightest candle on the cake - Would you realy want to fly in a plane with these missing items? And, the Augusta National was right in their decision to ask that this be stopped because it was in very poor taste, unnecessary and a potential danger to their patrons. Failure to take action on their part or on the part of the FAA would have been far worse.

the_source
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the_source 04/13/10 - 10:48 pm
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Well, according to real

Well, according to real estate law, the bounds of real property extend into the center of the earth and infinitely up into the sky. If the plane flew over the golf course, I'd think that that plane was trespassing by encroaching on property boundaries. Man, where is a real estate attorney when you need one???

Insider Information
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Insider Information 04/13/10 - 11:13 pm
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Just a few questions... Who

Just a few questions... Who defines "bad taste"? Can a UGA fan claim that a USC banner is "bad taste"? Can I claim trespass any time a plane flies over my house? Should the government be allowed prior restraint on all advertising? And, should prior restraint be extended to all publications, including newspapers, books, your personal blog?

Danyell706
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Danyell706 04/14/10 - 01:20 am
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you people r

you people r ridiculous....Again, this mans personal life has/had nothing to do with his profession as a golfer. I wish you all would pay more attention to your own life instead of his. It's d@mn if you do, and d@mn if you don't! There's no point in pleasing society, he!! society displeases us everyday. Trust me the same man flying this banner, has done it in his life, or has/had someone close to him that has. Is he treating them the same way he is treating Tiger? He made a mistake to his family and to God NOT YOU! GET OVER IT!!!!!

the_source
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the_source 04/14/10 - 01:17 pm
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Danyell706, if you want go on

Danyell706, if you want go on a crusade to stop people from bashing this guy, I suggest you protest the media that publishes it and pay more attention to your own life as well rather than pretend to be better than the other posters here. I find it interesting that the Augusta Chronicle doesn't consider your post a personal attack against the posters here and just delete your babbling. People have a right to judge anyone for themselves, just not for others, and this is the kind of news that sells (sad to say but true) so just get over it and get off your high-horse, holier-than-thou attitude.

towerflower
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towerflower 04/16/10 - 09:01 am
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Sorry Asitisinauq but I have

Sorry Asitisinauq but I have to disagree. First if the a/c was so unsafe that it could not be flown over populated areas/crowds then the FAA would not have given them the option of flying back to Ohio to repair the few items. Next, it was loose or missing screws not bolts! They never said where the missing screws where located and whether or not they would cause a true safety issue their only words came from a PR hack who knows nothing about aviation. As for flying over large crowds, well it's done almost everyday. Banners over the beach during spring breaks, banners over bike week in Daytona Beach, banners, helos and blimps over the racetrack during the Daytona 500. Things like banners flying over an area with crowds happen all the time and the Masters is no expection. What is expected is the a/c obey the current FARs (which govern flying). As long as there was no flight restrictions and the pilot remained at 1000 above the crowds he did nothing wrong, if he had not followed the rules then the Air Traffic Manager of Augusta (the reported person asking for the inspection) needed to take action against the pilot in the form of a pilot deviation, but to call for a safety inspection of an a/c just because you don't agree with their operation is wrong....they are to enforce the rules not their opinion--what's next from them? Making an airline take a penalty wait because they don't like that airline? This whole thing was an attempt to shut down an operation that the Masters found to be in poor taste. Remember Hooters Airlines? Why not shut down airlines because their flight attendants might offend someone by their mode of dress? Plane (pun intended) and simple it was a witch hunt to stop an operation that proved embrassing to others. As for suing the FAA--I never said it, I only said I hope he goes after them; which could be by way of a formal complaint--but anyway, you can sue the FAA--once again happens all the time.

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