A Connecticut man has turned his motorized parachute ultralight flying machine into an advertising opportunity. He’s renting advertising space on his inflatable wing:
As the ultralight aircraft swept down near the cannons on Tuesday, the underbelly of the 500-square-foot parachute boasted in huge letters, â€œWestport Wash & Wax 203-CAR-WASH.â€
Scott Tiefanthaler, owner of the car wash on Post Road East, had not seen the parachute before Tuesday night, and he inspected it gleefully as Ruggles unfurled it prior to takeoff at Wakeman.
â€œHeâ€™s a customer at the car wash, and he doesnâ€™t live too far away,â€ he said of Ruggles, a Hillspoint Road resident. â€œWe began talking, and he said he was interested in turning his hobby into a business and one thing led to another.
â€œFrom an advertising standpoint, itâ€™s hard to cut through all the clutter on the Internet, but this theyâ€™ll see,â€ he added.
Tiefenthaler said he believed in the concept so much that he sprung $5,000 for his own â€œchuteâ€ with the company logo and phone number emblazoned across.
â€œThey call it a chute, but basically itâ€™s an inflatable wing,â€ Tiefanthaler said.
Ruggles said he has tried other ways to turn his recreation into a moneymaker, doing candy drops at birthday parties in Westchester County and filming aerial footage of outdoor weddings.
But advertising, he says, is the course he has charted, and says that future parachutes will not be as costly.
â€œBasically, the skyâ€™s the limit,â€ he quipped about business possibilities.
Unfortunately, Ruggles says he cannot just replace the lettering on each parachute since it is built into the fabric.
Photo by pmarkham.