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17 July 2012


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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
(daily broadsheet Pennsylvania USA)
Tuesday 17 July 2012

Plane banner sends message
to PSU brass about Paterno statue

by Mark Dent, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

JULIAN, PENNSYLVANIA -- From about 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a plane towing a banner that read "TAKE THE STATUE DOWN OR WE WILL" flew above State College, apparently sending a message to the Penn State administration about the Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium.

The plane is owned by Air America Aerial Ads, a limited liability company based in Toledo, Ohio, according to its Federal Aviation Administration registration.

Before the tail number could be identified by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Air America owner Jim Miller said the plane did not belong to him. Later calls to Miller and a company spokesperson were not immediately returned. Miller's company has flown sports-related banners before, including an anti-Tiger Woods banner at the 2010 Masters [professional golf tournament].

The pilot of the plane declined to identify himself, his company or to speak about the flight. The plane took off and landed at Ridge Soaring Gliderport in Julian.

The gliderport's owner, Tom Knauff, said his airport had no knowledge of what the banner said when the plane took off and that banner towing companies often use his airport.

"We just thought this was a routine 'Happy Birthday Jim' thing," Knauff said.

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