ICAS Convention – Wednesday

It’s Wednesday.  Although the convention goes on through tomorrow, I’m bugging out on a red-eye flight this evening.

Every day at ICAS is cool, but today is doubly so.  It’s flight suit day.  All performers are encouraged to wear their flight suits.  In years past, I have either not worn a flight suit or I have attended in CAP uniform representing CAP.  This year is a little different.  By dint of having flown a couple of shows with the Tuskegee Airmen Flight Demo Team this season, I’m an airshow performer and I get to wear my zoom bag for real.  I’ll be posting new content soon on that process but, in the meantime, it feels really good to have earned the right to wear sage green on this exhibit hall floor with these people.

I spent this morning at the Air Force and Navy/Marine Corps forums.  These are opportunities for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps to talk to airshow organizers and others about what it takes to get a military demo or static display and how to host them when they arrive.  It’s also an opportunity for me to get up close with the people who might ultimately be in a position to arange the kinds of media flights that Airspeed listeners have grown to expect.  I’ve had a great experience so far and have a few people to whom to send proposals, so it’ll again be a busy post-ICAS couple of weeks.

My hotel check-out time is looming, so I need to pack up and check my bags.  Then it’s off to another exhibit hall session and hanging out with my airshow bros until it’s time to head out to KLAS for the flight home.  Watch my Facebook page and my Twitter feed for more information and news from the 2012 ICAS Convention.

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 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.