ICAS Convention 2012 – Arrival


The Delta flight from Detroit settled onto the runway just after 5:00 a.m. PT, the baggage claim system worked flawlessly, there was a cab waiting when I walked through the sliding doors, and the reception desks at Paris Las Vegas were fully staffed with no waiting.  Not even the President of the United States of America could make me late to the ICAS Convention welcome reception.

In fact, my flight’s departure delayed pushback because Air Force One was on the other side of the field and we had to wait until it was airborne and a few miles out before pushing back.  But everything else worked out perfectly and I was even early for the reception.

The convention has actually been in full swing for a day already.  For the last three years, the convention has kicked off the initial sessions on Sunday and run through Wednesday.  This year, the convention kicked off on Monday, thus changing the time proposition for a guy like me who also flies a desk on weekdays.  So I got a half day of work in and then hit KDTW for a flight out to Vegas to arrive just in time for the opening reception.

I hit Le Central (better known to ICAS regulars as the “circle bar”) for awhile and made contact again with some of my airshow bros whom I hadn’t seen since last year.  Even cooler, though, was running into people I had last seen out on the performer ramp during my first season as a performer myself.  I suppose that that’s a bigger thing for me than it is for them, but that’s okay.  Tomorrow is flight suit day and I get to walk the floor as a performer for the first time.

The exhibit hall opens this morning after a keynote by former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier.  I’ll be heading down in about an hour to go see that and get an initial run around the floor.

The jet team announcements also happen this morning.  That’s a big deal.  If you’ve ever played backgammon, you know what the “running game” is.  All of the opposing pieces are out of the way and you’re running to get all of your pieces home.  Once the shows know whether they have jet teams, they can go about filling up the remainder of their performers.  So the wheeling and dealing will begin in earnest for many of the performers.  Act type, geography, show composition, and lots of other factors go into the process and it’s really interesting to see it happen.

 

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: http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedICASAS101.mp3. 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: http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedICASCudahy01.mp3. 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 (www.airbossinc.com) 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 www.airshows.aero. John’s ICAS bio is at http://www.airshows.aero/MemberProfile/14038.

 

Production Update: Return from ICAS, T-38A, Acro Camp Soundtrack, and More


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Okay, I think my head is back from Vegas and ICAS 2010. Great convention, lots of contacts made, and lots of friends revisited.

And lots on the hot plate for the next few weeks. Don, Barry, and I go into the studio on Friday to record parts of the Acro Camp movie soundtrack. I have all of the basic tracks down, but the real magic won’t happen until we’re all together with the instruments set up and the click track begins.

And I’m close to finishing the episode covering the T-38A flight with the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB. With that one, it’s an embarrassment of riches because of all of the great audio and video we captured. It’s no longer an issues of having a long episode. It’s an issue of how to make it shorter and more concise.

Rod Rakic and I will also likely record Part II of the Zero-to-Hero series, covering his intensive instrument and commercial training and me covering my multi-engine rating and DC-3 type school.

And there’s B-17 footage, Huey footage, and other great eye candy still in the can that I need to edit and get out into the feed.

I cant say enough things about this audience. Truth be told, I’d do this for my own benefit even if none of you tuned in. But knowing that there are thousands of you out there who really understand this stuff and care about it makes it that much more exciting. I’ll be channeling you guys in the studio on Friday and gain over the editing desk with the T-38A episode.

Airspeed alive, fuel, oil, rotate, climb, best glide . . . Smoke on!