ICAS Convention 2012 – Tuesday Ends

My first full day of the 2012 ICAS Convention ended well.  The exhibit hall opened in the morning shortly after the jet team announcements and it was time to check out all of the new stuff for the 2013 season.

The Aerostars hosted a Redbird G1000 C-172 in their booth and I had a chance to fly around Niagara Falls, including an ill-fated attempt at a wingover abeam the falls.  With all of my airshow flying, I haven’t had the opportunity to get much instrument work in this season, so I’ve been dependent upon a Redbird unit at Solo Aviation at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport for currency.  Both this unit and the Ann Arbor installation are great units.

Franklin’s Flying Circus brought the new Dracula: The Rise of Vacul aircraft and it’s drawing a lot of attention, taking up multiple booth spaces with lots of production value.  I love the huge control surfaces and the apparently massive engine.  This one if going to be fun to watch this season.

No ICAS convention would be complete without hanging out at Le Central (the “circle bar”) with airshow pros.  I had the chance to meet Ryan Keough in person after all these years, as well as hang out with Matt Jolley, Billy and David Werth, and Liza Eckardt.  And, of course, just sit there at the bar and watch my heroes walk by like it’s ICAS or something.  I hit the hay at 0200L and I’m not firmly on Pacific Time.  This can’t bode well for my condition upon arrival Thursday morning back in Detroit.  But it’s ICAS . . .


ICAS Opens Strong

ICAS formally kicked off this morning with a keynote by Pittsburgh Steeler and Vietnam veteran Rocky Bleier. It takes a major personality to stand in front of a room like the convention room at ICAS, but a guy with four Super Bowl rings is probably just about right.  Bleier spoke for about an hour, recounting his NFL experience, being injured in battle in Vietnam, and his path back into professional football.

John Cudahy then announced the jet team schedules for 2013 and 2014, as well as the TAC DEMO schedules for 2013. It looks like the Thunderbirds will be back at Battle Creek next year and the Thunderbirds will be flying Oshkosh!

The Blues will be at Indy next year and at Traverse City in 2014.

These are, of course, the shows that are of most interest to me. Check the team websites for appearances near you.

Probably the most interesting part about the morning session was an airshow. Yes, an airshow! Mark Leesburg and Jeff Boerboon launched radio controlled aircraft and pwned the pilots of the 1:1 -scale aircraft by flying a demo directly over the audience.

I’m heading down to the exhibit floor now to see what’s new this year. More posts as more stuff happens!

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!