Rules of Engagement 2014 – Audio Episode Show Notes

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 These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

We’re taking a break from the usual avgas and airshow smoke here on Airspeed to go a little meta.  A few years ago, I wrote a FAQ section for the website.  I called it the Airspeed Rules of Engagement.  Mostly the backstory of the show and information about who I am, what I do, the philosophical bent of the show, and other information about why Airspeed exists and where it’s going.  I turned it into an audio episode and, strangely enough, it has become one of the most popular episodes and resulted in a lot of feedback.

So I thought I’d take an episode and update the Rules of Engagement here in Airspeed’s ninth year.  Here we go.


The Airspeed Rules of Engagement are available here.


I’m very proud of what Airspeed has become.  I was standing in a photo pit at an airshow a few weeks ago when a guy turned around upon hearing my voice and said, “Hey!  You’re him!”  It’s a great feeling when that happens and it happens more than I ever expected it to.

And I get e-mails from some of you who tell me that you’ve started flight training.  Or re-started flight training.  Or re-re-started or as many “re’s” as life makes necessary.  Some of you have undertaken other projects or begun or continued other journeys that are just as compelling.  Some of you tell me that you’ve made astonishing, terrifying, and courageous decisions and that something I said had a part in getting you on that trajectory.  Wow.  Just wow.

Brian Eno is reputed to have said that the Velvet Underground’s first album sold only 30,000 copies, but “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”  If you happen to be in search of a proper measure of real success and a life well-lived, may I tender Brian Eno’s words as an excellent candidate.  And, though Airspeed is far from the “30,000” and “everyone” parts, some of you who have “started a band.”  In fact, many of you have.  You have flown, written, played, spoken, sung, counseled, taught, and – most of all – dared.

I am proud of Airspeed for many reasons.  But that’s the big one.  If something I said was a part of you daring to do a worthy thing, I’m flattered beyond any real ability to describe it.  Thanks for joining me on this journey.  And for what you’re going to do next.  And the thing after that.


This episode’s Audible selection is The Martian by Andy Weir.  Get is for free today when you sign up for a free trial at

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RCAF Showbirds at Rockford AirFest

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Okay: Spectacular day here at the Rockford AirFest.  I mean really great.

We spent most of yesterday getting cameo interviews for Acro Camp and shooting B-roll.  Today was all about capturing footage that will  back the cameo that we shot of the Snowbirds yesterday.

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Captain Thomas Edelson, the Snowbirds’ public affairs officer, flew Airspeed’s camera during the practice demo this afternoon.  He rode with Snowbird 8, Lead Solo Captain Guillaume Paquet.  Clear skies, a box full of aircraft (the Snowbirds fly a nine-ship CT-114 demo), and the red flight suits and helmets made for really great images and captured a lot of the excitement of formation aerobatic flight.

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Tonight, we’re going to consolidate the video shot thus far and make up a shot list for the show tomorrow.  Mostly crowd B-roll and anything else that captures the airshow environment generally. Lindsay Shipps is shooting stills again tomorrow.  Rod Rakic came for the day today to shoot stills and video and we’ll be going over his material tonight as well.

If you’re at Rockford AirFest tomorrow, please look us up.  You can usually reach me through Twitter (@StephenForce).  I’ll respond if I can.  We’d love to meet you and say hello.


Rockford AirFest 2014


I’m here at the Rockford AirFest shooting the last round of performer interviews for the film. We got Canadian Forces Snowbird 2 (Inner Right Wing) Captain Brett Parker from Edmonton, Alberta. Great interview. And he allowed as how he knew of The Ballad of Thunderbird 2 (although Snowbird 2 is lookin’ left, not right).


We also got a great interview with US Unlimited Aerobatics Champion and Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco pilot Jeff Boerboon.  The Waco was pretty cool in an exhibit hall at ICAS, but that’s nothing compared to how it looks out in the sun on the ramp.


And it wouldn’t be a complete set of performer cameos without a USAF Thunderbird. Maj Caroline Jensen flies 3 for the USAFADS. She has 200 hours of combat experience in the F-16 and was a T-38 IP before joining the team.

I think that Maj Jensen was our favorite interview. She wasn’t afraid to go technical about control inputs, formation technique, and inside-baseball discussion of what it takes to fly the Viper. The only issue might be resisting the urge to put too much of this interview into the film.