Up, up and away: a look at South Baldwin's plane advertising

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 5/18/18

Every day is a banner day for Mike Collins.

Collins is the owner of Gulf Coast Aerial Advertising (GCAA), a service which flies ads for businesses behind airplanes on and near the beaches. …

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Up, up and away: a look at South Baldwin's plane advertising

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Every day is a banner day for Mike Collins.

Collins is the owner of Gulf Coast Aerial Advertising (GCAA), a service which flies ads for businesses behind airplanes on and near the beaches.

Not a native to Baldwin County, Collins moved here in 2010 from Georgia after working in the underground utility business for 22 years.

“We’ve been here ever since doing watersports and airplanes and that sort of thing,” Collins said.

When asked about how he made the leap from utility work to banner planes, Collins said the transition was relatively easy.

“We advertised a lot with the banner companies and an opportunity came up where we could buy the business,” Collins said. “So we bought the business that could accommodate the other businesses we had.”

The process to get the banner onto the plane isn’t rocket science, but it does take skill.

“It’s actually done with a hook,” Collins said. “It kind of looks like a treble hook that you would fish with. It actually drops from the wing of the airplane and goes to the tail section of the airplane. That line, I think, is about 40 or 50 feet off the back of the airplane. You sweep down about four feet and then go up at a 90 degree angle and hook on from there. It engages the rope off your banner and lifts it off the ground.”

Collins also owns Chute for the Sky Parasailing and OB Watersports. Between his businesses, Collins is able to provide parasailing and kayaks, paddle boards and pontoon boats and even fishing excursions. Managing all these businesses leaves him little time to actually fly the airplanes, but he’s got it covered.

“I don’t go up that much, but we’re up form 9 o’clock until 6 p.m.every single day generally,” Collins said.

If you’d like to contact GCAA about running an ad with them, visit gcaadvertising.com or call Mike at (251) 263-1787.

Collins said buying an established business with 47 years worth of history on the Gulf Coast helped him tremendously early in his time here.

“We obviously had a tremendous name down here for ourselves with the company that we bought,” Collins said. “We were able to use part of that, the name that people recognize, and then soliciting more business form people in the area.”

He has a wife of six years and two children: Cody, who is headed to Auburn for aviation school and Kayla currently in school at Spanish Fort.

After all these years manning the business, Collins says the best part of going up in the banner planes is seeing the beaches and the waterways from a different perspective

“Seeing our landscape from the air is really pretty,” Collins said. “Seeing the clarity of the water from up high is really neat.”