On Sunday, August 15, 1993, at 1230 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 305A, N53136, operated by Aerial Advertising, Inc., and piloted by David L. Coleman, sustained substantial damage, when it impacted the water near Beach Haven, New Jersey. The pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR 91.

This was the third banner tow flight of the day for this pilot. The two earlier banners were picked up; towed; and dropped without incident. In his report, the pilot stated:

The third banner, unknown to me, was on a tow line which was 50' to 75' longer than the previous tow lines. At the drop area, I was watching the ground crew for a signal to release the banner. As the A/C [aircraft] [approached] what I felt [was] too far past the [drop area], I pulled the release handle, but the banner did not drop. Almost immediately, the banner could be felt dragging the ground. I added power to climb and tried again to release the banner. By this time the banner was in the water. The weight of the banner in the water was too much for the A/C to overcome....even with power the A/C entered the water...

Mr. David J. Grasso, Aviation Safety Inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration, examined the wreckage. In his report, Mr. Grasso stated:

...I arrived to check the banner release after the aircraft was removed from the water. The release was actuated 6 times (without a load applied) and it operated correctly.

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