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!

Sequestration: Remarks by Rep Sam Graves – 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:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedICAS201301.mp3.  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

I thought about doing a post about sequestration and its effects, but ICAS made that unnecessary by bringing Rep. Sam Graves to the podium this morning prior to the keynote.

Graves is the US Representative for Missouri’s 6th congressional district, serving since 2001. The district consists of Northwest Missouri and includes the portion of Kansas City north of the Missouri River and many northern suburbs. He is a member of the House General Aviation Caucus.

There’s not much more that I can add to this, so I thought that I’d simply put up the remarks so that you can hear them directly.

ICAS 2013 Opening Reception

Panorama Reception

The 2013 International Council of Air Shows (“ICAS”) Convention kicks off this morning after the reception last night here at Paris Las Vegas.

Although the US jet teams are back for the 2014 season, both Air Force and Navy TAC Demo support will be substantially reduced or nonexistent in the coming season, depending on the platform that interests you. I’m still working on getting a sense of the pulse of the industry and what reduced military support is going to mean for airsows in the long term if it continues. This morning is the first exhibit hall session and the first chance to really walk around and get a sense of everyone’s feelings about the upcoming season and the longer-term prospects.

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The highlight of the reception was John Klatt’s unveiling of the Screamin’ Sasquatch, a 1929 Taperwing Waco. It has a Pratt & Whitney 985 radial engine on the nose, but the real kicker is the CJ610 (J-85) jet engine mounted on the underside. Jimmy Franklin first flew a jet Waco in 1999. The unveiling here at ICAS featured the Jack Links Sasquatch himself posing for pictures.

Perhaps the most important element of the Sasquatch announcement is the fact that Klatt managed to land the sponsorship deal that enabled the ‘Squatch. Sponsorship is critical to many airshow acts, and putting together a jet Waco isn’t something that one can do on appearance fees alone.

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Klatt is a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, having flown F-16s and C-130s. Through last season, he had flown an MXS in Air Guard livery and he participated heavily in recruiting efforts at each air show that he flew.

Klatt’s migration to the new aircraft and a private-sector sponsor might be a harbinger of things to come in the industry as military support is reduced or isn’t as reliable in light of ongoing budget issues and economic conditions. Time will tell, of course. But, in the meantime, it’s a real coup that Klatt has landed what is clearly a major deal that will bring a unique aircraft to the skies of many airshows and get Jack Links and its “wild side” message exposure to airshow and other fans.

Major sponsorships like this aren’t an option for every performer.  Or even most performers.  But  Klatt showed us that he could do it and the aircraft is gorgeous.  There’s a sponsorship breakout session at the convention and I’m planning to attend it.

Sponsorship is by no means the largest moving part in the industry and it’s by no means a new thing.  But Klatt’s deal is a ray of light and I’ll be following this and other developments.

 

Inside Airshows – Part 3: Tuskegee 3 – 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:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedTuskegee3WithPreRoll3.mp3.  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

If you want to understand a subculture or an experience, a great way to do that is to take an outsider and plunge him into the place you want to know about, wait awhile, then drag him back to the surface and wring him out to see how it changed him.  It’s even better if you can get the guy to wring himself out.  You begin to realize that not everybody who writes about the majesty of flight does it because he’s a fighter pilot.  Some of us write because we’re not fighter pilots.

You also need to talk about the world in its own terms, using the lexicon of the world, sometimes without explaining the vocabulary to the uninitiated, except maybe through context.  If you’re a pilot, you’ll understand most of this.  If you’re not a pilot, that’s okay, because you’ll feel a little of the strangeness of this world and you’ll put it together in context and in realtime.  Just like I did.  In some ways, you’re in for a better ride than the pilots.

There are three things you need to know about me.

First, I’m a pretty average Joe.  I’m 46.  By any reasonable estimation, my life is more than half over.  I live in the suburbs.  I have a wife and two kids.  I run the rat race every day about as well as the next guy.  You wouldn’t recognize me if you ran into me in the grocery store.

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Second, I always wanted to be an astronaut.

Third, I realized a few years ago that it was entirely up to me where between that baseline and that dream I would live each day of the rest of my life.

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Listen to this.

[ICAS hall noise.]

This is the sound of a magical zone in spacetime.  It’s a room with about 60,000 square feet of floor space.  It’s at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I don’t know what happens in that room for the other 361 days each year.  I’m not even sure that this room  exists for the other 361 days of the year.  But, for four days each December, it’s filled wall to wall with just about every airshow performer who’s active anywhere in the us and Canada.  This is the exhibit hall at the International Council of Air Shows annual convention.

Standing at the back of the hall facing the doors way across the room, the Thunderbirds and the other Air Force TAC DEMO and static display pilots and leadership are off to the left against the far wall.  The Blue Angels and the rest of the Navy and Marine Corps contingent are on the opposite wall.  The Snowbirds are in the middle on this side.  Sean Tucker, Mike Goulian, Skip Stewart, Patty Wagstaff, Bill Stein, Rob Holland, Billy Werth, Greg Koontz, Kent Pietsch, Andy Anderson, Bob Carlton, Gene Soucy, Scooter Yoak, Team Aerodynamix, John Klatt . . . every one of them is in this room right now.  Hanging out.  Booking next year’s appearances. Swapping stories.  Doing whatever superheroes do when they get together each year between seasons. [Read more...]