Audio Episode Show Notes: River Days Airshow – Part 1 – Waiver Application and Planning

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These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio here:

Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

We’re deep in the process of trying to bring a full-up airshow to the Detroit riverfront and we’re giving you an inside look at the process.  In this episode, Other People’s Airplanes producer and host, David Allen, takes over the host mic so that Steve can talk about the process so far.

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You can follow along, too, by reading the waiver application.  Just click the image above to see the very PDF file that went to the FAA this week.

Nobody takes you deeper inside airshows than Airspeed.  Not content to watch them or even to fly in them, we’re actually putting together our own and you have a seat at the table for all of the planning, training, and excitement.  Stay tuned!


Airshows 101 at ICAS 2011 – Audio Episode Show Notes

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!

I’m once again at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas for the annual convention of the International Council of Air Shows (“ICAS”).

It’s the annual event at which the airshow community in North America gets together to talk about the recently completed season, catalog the collective experience, and plan for the next year’s operations. Just about everyone who matters in the airshow industry is here in person or represented in one way or another.

I attend ICAS each year on media credentials. It’s a great opportunity to meet the performers whom I cover and make connections that help me to produce the show. The T-38 episode from January of this year was a direct result of a contact made at ICAS. Additionally, many of the performer cameos that you’re going to see in Acro Camp resulted from conversations over coffee or beer at ICAS. [Read more...]

ICAS 2011 – Day 1

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I’m here at the ICAS Convention at Paris Las Vegas for a few days. I again hit Airshows 101 yesterday and then got reacquainted with the airshow pros. The opening session kicks off in a half hour and then the exhibit hall opens for the first session mid-day.

I’m working on the Airshows 101 episode and have hopes of getting it out later today.

In the meantime, here are a few shots of the convention so far.

The first is a panoramic shot of the welcome reception last night. We had a nautical theme in honor of the centennial of naval aviation. My costume was a TSO’ed life vest. I gave it a 50-50 chance of making it through the party without someone pulling the handle to inflate it. The handle got pulled as I was making my last round of the floor before heading out to the bar. No worries. That’s what it was for. And now I have experience with yet another piece of emergency equipment. And, yeah, there’s got to be a way to log it.

The rest are shots of Le Central, better known as the “circle bar,” just inside the main entrance. Other than the parties at some of the suites upstairs, Le Central is the place to be. You can check out my episode from last year for a more complete gouge.

Back to work on the Airshows 101 episode!

Airshow Safety: The View from ICAS – Audio Episode Show Notes

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!

In the wake of a difficult weekend (and, indeed, a difficult season) for the airshow community, I asked John Cudahy to sit down for a few minutes to talk about airshow safety.

John has been the president of the International Council of Air Shows, Inc. (“ICAS”) since 1997. I’ve heard him speak at the annual convention in Las Vegas for the past two years and I’m returning to Las Vegas again this December.

John is one of those people who has always been on my list of people to bring onto the show at some appropriate time. I had thoughts of bringing him on as a part of the upcoming episode encapsulating my experience attending ICAS’s Airshows 101 class at the last convention. But the events of the summer conspired to make it more important to bring John onto the show now to talk about the ICAS safety culture.

In this interview, John gives you a recap of the history of airshow safety in North America and talks fully and frankly about how the airshow community discusses, addresses, and lives with risk. He identifies the differences between airshow operations and air race operations. And he talks about safety from the standpoint of the crowd and that of the performers themselves.

One note on the audio: In the early going, John differentiates air race and air show operations, but probably misspeaks and says “air show” when he means to say “air race.” But the context makes the audio pretty clear in spite of the transposition.

The photo that leads these show notes is of ICAS member and air boss George Cline ( presenting the Airshows 101 course at the ICAS Convention in 2009. Airshows 101 is a day-long introductory course that explains the basics of airshow logistics, layout, regulatory approvals, and other important information for newer members of airshow organizers. I covered the event in 2009 and attended as a full-up paid student in 2010.

More information about ICAS is available at John’s ICAS bio is at


ICAS Convention – Day 1

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These are the show notes to an audio episode. If you want to listen online, please use the direct link below.

I’m in Las Vegas covering the annual meeting of the International Council of Airshows and its 2009 annual convention.

ICAS’s own description says it best.

“ICAS is a not-for-profit trade association composed of professionals working in the air show community. Approximately 40 percent of the organization’s members are air show event organizers from the United States, Canada and the rest of the world. Another 40 percent of the organization’s members are individuals or organizations that perform at air shows. And the remaining 20 percent are support service providers who offer ancillary services (concessions, insurance, photography, etc.) to the air show community.

“The primary missions of the organization are: 1) to maintain safety; 2) serve as an information resource on air show issues for those within and outside the industry; 3) provide for the training and continuing education needs of ICAS members and air show professionals generally; and 4) promote the air show industry to the media, corporate North America, and the general public.”

I started out coverage today by hitting Airshows 101 – Air-Ground Operations Training, an intense day-long session that lays the groundwork for anyone who wants to organize an airshow. Topics include how to lay-out your air show site; mitigating air show hazards; timelines for initiating different aspects of your air show planning; what to consider when hiring performers; how to apply for an air show waiver and your responsibilities once it’s approved; the importance of establishing strong communications; how to establish early control of ground operations and support; what you should include in your emergency plan; and how to work with your assigned safety inspector.

Want to talk about drinking from a fire hose? This is it. But it’s presented very clearly by a group of experienced airbosses and similar personnel. I’m including some audio from the session. listen to a few outtakes. No particular rhyme or reason to these. They’re what was happening when I had the recorder out and handy. But I knows that you guys like to be flies on the wall for the deep background, so the lack of editing won’t bother the afterage Airspeed fanboy.

[Seminar audio]

Long-time listeners to the show will know that I try to have an experienced airshow director on every spring to talk about what goes on behind the scenes. I think we’ve gotten some pretty good insights through three years of doing that. But this takes it to a whole new level.

It’s Sunday. The exhibit hall is being put together as I record this and seminars are going on down the hall. Later on today, I sit down on a four-person panel to talk about new media and social media and how to make it work for airshow performers, organizers, and sponsors. Roger Bishop of Indy Transponder and the Indianapolis Airshow will also be on the panel and it’ll be a good hour of content for the attendees. I’m pretty excited about it and I’m planning to record it and put it out on the feed.

I’m planning to release a rapid-fire series of episodes over the course of the next few days. If you have your podcatcher set to download only the most recent episode, please make sure that you go back and verify that you haven’t missed an episode or two.

More information about ICAS is available at

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