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Plane Spotted Over NYC With Downgrade Message: 'You Should All Be Fired


"I originally wanted to fly it over Washington, D.C., but learned that you can't do that."

An airplane caused quite a stir this afternoon when it flew over the Lower Manhattan offices of S&P with a message: "THANKS FOR THE DOWNGRADE. YOU SHOULD ALL BE FIRED." But according to the person behind it, the message may not have been just for the ratings agency.

The New York Observer has a picture of the plane and the trailing banner, although the words are illegible:

Still, Twitter is all abuzz with first-hand accounts of the flyover.

So who sanctioned the message? For the most part, the exact name of the culprit is still a mystery (she wants to remain anonymous). But Fortune interviewed her about what prompted the display. Surprisingly, it wasn't necessarily meant for S&P:

Fortune has learned that the person who paid to fly the banner is a Midwestern investment banker, who woke up last night with the need to vent at those who she believes are leading the nation into an economic morass.

"I originally wanted to fly it over Washington, D.C., but learned that you can't do that," says the banker, who asked to remain anonymous for job security reasons. "So I chose Wall Street instead, but didn't specifically intend it to fly over S&P. I'm just a mother from St. Louis who feels the only reason we got downgraded was people in politics."

The pilot was Matthew Applegate, of a New Jersey-based company called Aerial Sign North. He did not pick up the phone, but a competitor suggests that such a flight would run between $1,200 and $1,500.

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