HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The sound of Aerial Banner North's yellow airplane buzzed overhead as the pilot made three passes fifty yards off Kailua's coastline. It was close enough for people to read and react to the banner the plane was towing that said "HBN Loves America.".
"I think that's advertisement. And that's banned by the statutes and laws of our state," Mark Johnson said.
"I don't see it as a bad thing, especially on Fourth of July," Jose Moreno said.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said if ABN continues to tow aerial messages and eventually advertisements over Oahu, cops will crack down to enforce the city's anti-billboard ordinance.
"It may not happen today. It depends on whether we find them and actually issue the citation, but we'll continue to pursue it until we do," he said.
The mayor sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, urging it to revoke a waiver it granted the company to pursue its aerial ad business in Hawaii.
ABN's attorney Michael McAllister said his client has federal law on his side.
"Honolulu is saying you can't fly. The Outdoor Circle is saying you can't fly. We and the FAA obviously assert that we are flying lawfully," he said.
Friday was the third time in the past two months ABN took what it calls its "free speech message" airborne. It eventually wants to fly paid advertisements for non-profits and commercial businesses.
Caldwell feels the company is bucking for a fight.
"If they want to take on the prosecutor for the City and County of Honolulu, then so be it. The prosecutor may seek an injunction if they continue to fly during that period," he said.
"If the county wanted to pursue an injunction, they would have to prove irreparable harm," McAllister said. "They'd have to prove a highly likely success on the merits of the issue which given the fact that we have a federal permit they can't do."
Aerial Banners North has towed banners across mainland skies and over Alaska. Unless the city administration shuts it down the company plans to extend its reach beyond Oahu and fly aerial ads over every island.