SOMA Nature Walk: Death from the Skies Edition

Plane's banner falls off, lands on SF power lines

A plane flying a banner advertising "$8.99 haircuts" over San Francisco Saturday afternoon lost the ad, which landed on high voltage power lines next to the San Francisco Tennis Club in the city's SoMa district.

The banner's landing was first reported around noon near the intersection of 5th and Brannan streets.

Upon contact with the power lines, the banner reportedly burned up and caused a power outage for an estimated 250 residents in the surrounding area, according to PG&E.

The intersection of 5th and Brannan streets was closed off by emergency crews while they attempted to remove the banner from the power lines.

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15 Responses:

  1. Pavel Lishin says:

    1/26 NEVER FORGET TO GET A HAIRCUT $8.99 SALE ENDS TODAY [picture of bald eagle getting a haircut]

  2. Jim says:

    So bummed this wasn't the Geico banner that was flying over the East Bay today. Oh the possible irony...

  3. James says:

    This is obviously a cleverly-executed conspiracy by government forces intent on denying us our Tenth Amendement rights to tacocopters.

  4. Jesper says:

    I guess you could say the power was [sunglasses] cut.


  5. MattyJ says:

    I wonder what the change in drag was like on the airplane when it lost the banner and if we're lucky the whole thing didn't come crashing down. Anyone know?

    • cthulhu says:

      No danger of the plane crashing. A friend of mine flies banner planes as a hobby (no, not this one). They are always poised to cut the banner loose at any time because the drag of the banner is so much that they're flying full throttle and full flaps just to stay in the air, so if anything hiccups, they cut the banner loose to save their ass. They get an immediate climb out of it.

  6. Adam says:

    From the coloring of the photo it seems that this happened in the mid 70s.

    Must be a slow news day.

  7. jope says:

    That was a close shave; it could have been a lot worse.

  8. Brian B says:

    You are having a bad problem and you will not go to space today.

  9. Adolf Osborne says:

    What conductive stuff do they make these banners from that presents such issues? (I always assumed that they were basically mylar.)

    • Nate says:

      Most things conduct when presented with 12kV, even "insulators".

      • Adolf Osborne says:

        12kV isn't really all that much to an "insulator."

        If I had some bulk mylar I'd give it a few wraps around the open terminals of the hefty 15kV neon sign transformer under my desk and put the results on Youtube, but I don't think the video would be very spectacular. It'd likely be a "man plugs in cord, nothing happens" sort of thing.

        Back to my original question: I suppose that I can be willing to assume that the banner might be intentionally conductive, even with the availability of Space-Age Insulating Polymers, just to ward off the worst effects of static electricity.