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I thought you couldn't fly banners...

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  • I thought you couldn't fly banners...

    Faction -- NYC Chapter strikes in Boston

    Pilot catches heavy flak for Evil Empire air strike
    By Jules Crittenden
    Saturday, April 17, 2004

    Hey, give a working pilot a break!

    Harry Nikitas usually only has to dodge birds, blimps and other planes when he tows advertising banners over stadiums.

    But now, he's catching some major flak because he dared to fly the following message over Fenway on Thursday night:


    He made it back to Fitchburg Airport without being struck by lightning. But yesterday, the hate e-mails started pouring in from people who recognized his plane. Nikitas didn't want to repeat any of them. Some of them weren't very nice.

    ``They were Red Sox fans who were disgusted that I'd be up there,'' said Nikitas, 58. ``I'm a Red Sox fan. I have been one all my life.''

    Nikitas didn't think twice when the New York Post called asking for his help in thumbing New York's nose at Boston. The advertising business hasn't been great in recent years, and Nikitas has bills to pay, just like the rest of us. That's $900 for 2 hours of flying . . . nothing to sneeze at. Anyway, Nikitas is an equal opportunity flier.

    ``This is America,'' Nikitas said. So he helped the Post give Boston a Bronx cheer.

    ``I thought it would be good for the rivalry,'' Nikitas said. ``Stir up the fans.''

    In the past, he has flown Boston Herald banners and all kinds of ads for local companies that are Sox boosters. The dot-com era was good to him, before the bottom fell out of that. He has even flown wedding proposals.

    ``We've done a lot of business over the Red Sox,'' he said.

    ``It's good for the game,'' Nikitas said.``The purpose is to fire up the crowd. I guess it worked fine.''

    He was working on his plane yesterday afternoon and said he didn't know whether the nasty e-mail was still coming in.

    ``There'll probably be more when I get back,'' he said.