As WDR’s assault on the Bengals’ training camp has made its way across the sporting blogosphere, there is of course a brilliant man that went above and beyond to make our presence known and our voices heard to Bengals management and the Brown family those first two weekends in Georgetown, Kentucky. That man is Bud Newhouse, owner of High Signs Aerial Advertising in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bud, a veteran pilot, has been flying banners in and around the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond for 35 years. A now somewhat defunct Bengals fan with a place in his heart for change within the Bengals organization, Bud took to the skies with our message, but as he tells me, it may have been at a cost.
Check out the 4 plane banners here:
Bud and his one-man crew unrolled a large banner in the early morning of August 1, 2009 as he customarily has done for 22 years as owner of High Signs Aerial Advertising. This particular job was no different than any other he had taken in the past. It was simple: fly his plane to Georgetown, KY with an advertisement streaming from behind, circle the practice field at Georgetown College and return. The message displayed on the banner made no difference to him “so long as it’s not profanity,” he tells me.
Due to heightened security precautions and flying restrictions handed down by the FAA since 9/11, the aerial advertising business has been decimated with many businesses having closed up shop over the past eight years. Bud’s company once consisted of three planes and a multi-person crew that in recent years has been reduced to one plane and Bud’s ever lasting passion for flying.
As Bud began his ascent from Georgetown Airport he had in tow WDR’s first message to Mikey Brown and Co; “I CAN SEE ONLY 1 SCOUT FROM HERE!” All was going as planned as Bud traversed the beautiful summer sky toward Bengals training camp. Once at his destination Bud had successfully put into motion Project Mayhem Task # 9, unaware as to what affect it may have on the ground below.
As Bud was circling in the skies above Bengals fans turned their attention from the playing field to the heavens. Some fans questioned the banner’s meaning or significance, a handful attributed the message having come from Browns or Stealer fans, and still others believed the message to be a poignant reminder to MB from the writers of Who Dey Revolution. Whether fans liked it, hated it, or had difficulty in understanding the message there were those in the Bengals organization that found the message to be but one thing – a threat.
As Bud unknowingly carried the torch of the Revolution, Mike Brown’s own Praetorian Guard was attempting to silence the declaration overhead, Bud later learned. Bengals Chief Security Officer contacted Georgetown police to notify them of the plane flying over the practice field as practice was being conducted.
As Bud began to explain what he later learned, my initial thought was how absurd it was to contact the local police department regarding one single engine plane circling an NFL training camp until, that is, I was reminded by commenters of the blogging world that since 9/11 we at WDR should have realized that a low level flying plane may be seen as a threat to federal, local, or personal security.
The FAA does request citizens and local law enforcement to report any and all unusual activity regarding aircraft. Outside of domestic violence, drunk co-eds, retail thefts of Marlboro Reds, drunk drivers, and meth heads the Georgetown Police Department (GPD) probably doesn't deal with crimes against major corporations linked to terrorism. I can only imagine the GPD has been waiting for an Al-Queda linked terrorist attack by light aircraft, ultralights, or helicopters as an opportunity to use their federally funded training to prevent such an action. You know, a chance to show the world that Geoergetown, KY is not a harbor for terrorists and their twisted plots. I quickly concluded that Brown was simply doing his duty as a citizen of the United States and nothing more! I was relieved.
Bud further explained that upon return to Georgetown Airport that day Georgetown personnel notified him that the Tower Controller of Blue Grass Airport in Lexington wanted to speak with him. Bud promptly called LEX Tower Control who explained to him that they had received a phone call from the Bengals Chief Security Officer identifying his aircraft as flying directly over the crowd in the stadium during practice hours.
The Controller further told Bud that the Bengals representative threateningly stated, "I'm going to be nice about this just once, but we have 1,500 people here and I would appreciate it if you didn't fly over the stadium. We want you to stay at least three miles away from the stadium. If you don't, I will have to file a TFR (temporary flight restriction)."
Bud explained to me that this was simply not the case at all and that the Lexington Air Traffic Controller identified Bud by radar as having flown his route at or above the appropriate level for small aircraft flying under Visual Flight Rules (i.e. must have a 1000 ft ceiling and see at least 3 miles).... not to mention that a TFR must be submitted to the FAA at least 45 days prior to the event for authorization.
Surely Mikey Boy had simply been mistaken. I mean without the proper equipment not even MB would be able to determine the exact altitude outside of his trifocals and binoculars. Brown must have forgotten to pack his AccuRange 3000, understandable. Using the calculated method of 'Science v. Eyeballing It' is usually pretty, pretty, pretty close, as I see it.
It is, however on his mistaken belief, quite possible that the Emperor Brown ordered his Chief Officer to notify Lexington Airport in an attempt to protect the 1,500 or so individuals in and around the facility in an effort to prevent catastrophe should something go terribly wrong with the plane. Think of it as an MB insurance policy - I mean why else do people get meteorite strike insurance? -- The old idiom of 'better safe than sorry' stands true, and certainly as evidence by Hard Knocks, Mike Brown is no fool and always has a Plan B in place should the shit really hit the fan. I began to determine the substance of these events and concluded that Mike Brown is quite simply a promoter of safety looking out for his beloved money holding/ticket buying/jersey wearing/beer guzzling fans - a truly concerned American and patriot.
Bud explained to me and I later learned that TFRs can be issued for the following reasons of which I will cite to support the fact that the scenario in our story ranks up amongst those of the most severe magnitude identified by the FAA and not simply some scare tactic against free speech:
- Toxic gas leaks; spills, fumes from flammable agents which, if fanned by rotor or propeller wash, could endanger persons or property on the surface or in other aircraft;
- Volcanic eruptions which could endanger airborne aircraft and occupants;Hijacking incidents wherein activities have the potential to endanger persons or property on the surface, or airborne aircraft occupants;
- Aircraft accident/incident sites;
- Wildfires fought by aviation or ground resources; Aircraft relief activities following a disaster (earthquake, flood, tidal wave, etc);
- Hostile actions threatening national security, ranging from threats to actual attack; or
- Aerial demonstrations or major open-air assembly sporting events
Certainly the likes of the Bengals training camp is as important as the listed homeland security threats, natural disasters, and apocalyptic happenings. This, folks, is what Mike Brown had in mind in notifying authorities of the plane’s existence. For those of you who cried "suppression of free speech and anti-Brown protest," shame on you.
Putting Mike Brown’s good intentions aside, as Bud further stated, this is NOT his only run in with Brown’s Thought Police. The Bengals organization has a long history with independent pilots and Bud personally “causing problems” for the Bengals organization. Multiple phone calls have been made to the FAA complaining about planes advertising products or messages around PBS before and after Bengals games. In fact, Bud and his flying pals have learned that the front office employs “plane spotters” to report on any planes that may be flying in the area prior to kickoff.
A few years back Bud was commissioned to fly a banner prior to a Bengals game around PBS up to an hour before the game was scheduled to begin while people were tailgating. The FAA, Bud explained, has a continuing TFR established prior to all NFL games or main events that occur in stadiums with a seating capacity of 30,000 or more commencing one hour before the scheduled event and until an hour after the end of the event. On that particular day Bud flew during the permitted restrictive times and at one point discharged smoke behind his plane to draw attention to the banner. This is in no way illegal or in violation of FAA regulations, but is a technique used by pilots in the aerial advertising industry to draw attention to their banners. Upon notification of this "appalling" flight behavior, Bengals Chief of Security reacted by contacting Lunken Airport to report that Bud’s plane was drawing panic amongst patrons in the stadium (that were there an hour or more before the beginning of the game).
On Friday and Saturday of the following week (in which WDR displayed the "101-187-1: HIRE A GM!" and "WHEN IS TRAINING CAMP FOR FRONT OFFICE?" banners) a representative from the FAA, on what could only be upon request by the Bengals Front Office (and MB's concern for his beloved fans), was present in and around the Georgetown area.
Having gotten wind of her arrival, Bud became extremely cautious but continued with his objective. The FAA inspector proceeded to place a number of phone calls to Lunken airport, Cynthiana airport, and LEX regarding Bud’s plane and banner. In one instance she presented the manager of Cynthiana airport with a document that she wished him to sign. The manager was unable to read the contents of the document due to her holding it in a way to prevent him from reading it. When asked what the document was she replied, “It’s just another nail in his coffin.” The manager refused to sign a document he had not read and the inspector left. She further contacted Bud by phone accusing him of flying at low altitudes over the crowd and too close to cellular phone towers, all of which are untrue and can be substantiated by Bud’s flight records and equipment.
As of this story, the FAA has made no formal report against Bud, but he is seriously worried. When asked what he thought about the incidents involving the Bengals/FAA and what he was expecting next he said, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m kind of in limbo. It could take months before I hear anything regarding a formal complaint against me from the FAA. Here [the Bengals Organization and FAA] are making a big deal over little ol’ me dragging banners around for not much money and causing me sleepless nights.”
With all satire and sarcasm aside, I find it remarkable to think that the owner of a professional team who acts as GM and is as hands on as Brown is with his organization has the time and energy to waste on attempting to ruin a small business and it’s owner because it provided a service with a message he did not like. As in ancient times Mike Brown has chosen to shoot the messenger apprising him of our war against him as it is easier to punish the bearer of bad news and an unpopular message than to attack the message itself. WDR salutes Bud Newhouse for his service and we hope that Mike Brown and his Front Office turn their attention to us to address the real issue at hand.
As it stands Emperor Brown has a long history of stifling free speech and free thought throughout his empire. Like all dictators and authoritarians he attempts to manipulate and suppress the truth through threat and use of force. MB even goes so far as confining the speech of the men that do his will through his utterly distasteful obstruction of the First Amendment through his Pickens Clause attached to each player contract. However, Mike Brown does not own us. He does not control our voice. Most certainly, he does not control the voice of the Revolution.
“The Framers [of the Constitution] knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.” - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black