Audio Episode Show Notes: River Days Airshow 2016 – Part 1

Jack Hodgson takes the bully mic for this episode to talk about the 2016 Tuskegee Airmen Detroit River Days Airshow.

Jack and I recorded this episode June 12 or 13 and we intended to record at least one more between then and when the airshow happened June 24-26. But things happened. Jack had work things to do and took a couple of days to get me his end of the audio. By that time, I was heading to Mattoon, Illinois to be deputy commander for glider operations at CAP’s Johnson Flight Academy (at which my son, FOD, soloed at age 14 by the way – Way to go, FOD!). The day after my obligations at the academy ended, I had to be back in Detroit for performer arrivals for the show and then performances began the day after that. Long story short, notwithstanding what you hear us say in the episode, this is the only episode that we recorded prior to the show.

I’m recording this in early August 2016. I won’t keep you in suspense. The show went off without a hitch other than the usual complications and all of the aircraft and performers are reusable. But there’s good stuff to talk about, mainly those complications, which range from international border crossings to an incoming storm to wind conditions to a late-breaking FAA requirement that had me calling off the show twice in a day and then trying to save it by desperately soliciting boaters. Find out all the details about how Project Spicoli resulted in yet another great hometown airshow in Detroit by listening to the follow-up episode. Jack and I will likely record the episode this month and I’ll have it in the feed as soon after that as I can.



Audio Episode Show Notes: River Days Airshow – Part 4 – Debrief

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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 did it!  We put on a full-up airshow over the Detroit River in some of the most challenging airspace in North America. In this episode, David Allen takes the bully mic again and Dean Greenblatt (“BIRD” during the show) joins Steve to talk about what went right, what went wrong, and what’s in store for the show next year.

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 4.01.28 PMHear how we put a jet, three gliders, and lots of other aircraft up in this box and managed to do it despite low weather on Saturday, communications SNAFUs, and the fact that nobody on the crew had ever put on an airshow before.  It’s an exciting story of what can happen when a dedicated crew of volunteers gathers together to turn dinosaurs into decibels.

Many thanks to Jo Hunter for the great photos!

Audio Episode Show Notes: River Days Airshow – Part 3 – Fast Footwork

River Days 03 New Box

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!

This is the third installment of the series that covers – in near-realtime – the events leading up to the GM Detroit River Days Airshow on the Detroit River 20-21 June 2015.  As before, David Allen of Other People’s Airplanes has taken the mic and is running the show in order to keep things moving.

In this installment, our heroes announce performers and deal with riverboats, timing changes, weather planning, and other exciting stuff.

If you’re following along at home, the lead image shows the new box configuration and the image below shows the former box for comparison.  We had to push everything back by a distance equivalent to the beam of a riverboat (62 feet), which squeezed the west end of the box down to 520 feet.  The good news is that we just abandoned the rectangular shape of the box and pushed the back of the box all the way to the Canadian border.  The border does not run parallel to the US shore, but rather dives a couple of degrees south.  Thus, the east end of the box is now 780 feet wide.  And the other good news is that the crowd is concentrated toward that end of the box.

River Days 03 Old Box

It also requires some fancy footwork to coordinate with the riverboat and the other large charter traffic on the river to assure that we’ll have a sterile area.

River Days 03 Datum

Here’s another shot that appears in the supplementary materials for the waiver.  You can see the riverboat over there on the right-hand side of the picture and the datum line that we’re using for the whole shore.  The datum is at least 70 feet from shore at all points and the CAT III line (the closest approach of performing aircraft) is 510 feet out from there.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 9.42.06 AMIf you really want to go inside baseball, you can see a copy of the waiver by clicking the image above.

Stay tuned.  There’ll likely be at least one more episode before the show itself.  In the meantime, you can see the River Days event page for the airshow here.  Thanks to Brad “Launchpad” Marzari for his questions submitted through Facebook.


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!


ICAS Convention 2014 – Arrival

ICAS Open Panorama

It’s another December and that means another ICAS convention!  I’m at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino here in Las Vegas along with just about everyone who’s anyone in the airshow business in North America.

It’s a busy convention for me this year.  In a couple of hours, I go downstairs to see Gene Kranz, Apollo program flight director and the author of The Kranz Doctrine, which is the subject of a popular Airspeed episode from 2009.  Yes, I’m having my copy of Failure is Not an Option.  After that, it’s a day of floor sessions and breakout sessions.  I’m hitting the Blue Angels Forum and the sponsorship session.  Then, this evening, I’m taking a side track to see Penn & Teller here at the hotel.  I’ve been a fan of Penn Jillette for a long time and I have front row seats to see him llive.

Tomorrow (flight suit day!) I’m attending Air Boss 201 to add some color to the Air Boss episode of Airspeed.  It’s be nice to get some training so that I can find out what I did wrong bossing my first demos this past June.  After that, it’s more floor sessions and then I bust out to the airport for a red-eye Delta flight back to the D.

Throughout all of this, I’m taking calls and making sure that the desk I’m supposed to be flying back in the D stays aloft.  It exhibits reasonable spiral stability, but does require occasional corrections and the autopilot is notoriously unreliable.

There likely won’t be an episode from here at the hotel this year.  I have three episodes for which I’m collecting material.  Producing an on-site episodes can take as much as three or four hours and I think that that’s time better spent downstairs gathering the material and making the contacts that will inspire episodes that I’m not even thinking about right now.

Off to breakfast with the men and women who make airshows happen!