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Tue, Nov 18, 2008

Aero-TV: AirShow Safety--According To The AirBoss (Part 2)

AirBoss Ralph Royce Chats About Airshow Safety (Part 2)

There are few more complex "organisms" than an airshow in full operation. The amount of detail, coordination and expertise needed to pull off the modern American airshow is beyond the abilities of any one human being... though it does rely on one to try to coordinate the aerial operations... the much respected and (at some times) much feared AIR BOSS.

At an inaugural East Coast airshow in 2008, ANN and Aero-TV had the chance to see one of the best at work. Ralph Royce -- Aviation Legend, Pilot, Warbird Jock and Airshow Expert, was at work this time keeping everything safe, entertaining and ON TIME. Following the completion of the show, ANN's Editor-In-Chief Jim Campbell sat down with Royce to talk airshows, safety and how to help all involved to (according to one of Ralph's favorite sayings) "don't do nuthin' dumb."

Royce has an amazing history in the aviation world. Royce served for 15 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the The Lone Star Flight Museum and Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, having taken on that post in 1991. His emphasis on team-building and his plans for the future were evident in the statement he gave ANN upon his departure, "I cannot thank the volunteers and staff enough, for they have helped make this organization into the world recognized collection of aircraft and aviation memorabilia that it is..." said Royce. "I have had a wonderful ride but I have been planning this for some time. There are a couple of things I want to try in the aviation and air show worlds, and now is a good time to try them."

A commercially rated pilot with extensive warbird and airshow credentials, and a descendent of two generations of aviators, Royce has been involved in some aspect of aviation his entire life. His grandfather was a career Army Air Corps officer earning Military Aviator License # 44. In 1917, he led the 1st Aero Squadron in France and became commander of all U.S. Forces in the Middle East during WWII. Ralph’s father was also a career Air Force officer learning to fly in 1935 and he taught Ralph to fly gliders and small aircraft when he was a teenager. Two generations later, Ralph flew as a command pilot on a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and many of the high performance fighters and aircraft of WWII.

After selling his business, Ralph was named the Executive Director of the Confederate Air Force in Harlingen, Texas in early 1983. During his tenure he oversaw a doubling in size of the CAF, the restructuring of the CAF’s maintenance programs and a total reorganization of the financial structure of the CAF. Opting not to make the move to Midland, Ralph joined the Lone Star Flight Museum where he was President until 2006.

In 1995 Royce recognized the need for an “aviation” Hall of Fame in Texas. He successfully petitioned to have the Lone Star Flight Museum named as the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame and helped raise the necessary funds to build a facility that is today recognized as one of the finest Aviation Halls of Fame in the US.

Royce is known through out the aviation and air show industries as the premier Air Boss for his unique ability to design and control complex or difficult air shows -- safely. He is the principal instructor for “Air Show 101” which teaches air show flying and ground operations basics to new air show committees or staff members. He coordinates instructors for the Air Show Advanced Course, the Air Boss seminar, serves on several committees for aviation safety, and spends time teaching seminars to the FAA and Military on the finer points of managing and operating air shows in the waivered airspace environment.

Aero-TV Talks AirShows With The Consummate 'AirBoss', Ralph Royce (Part 2)

FMI: www.icashq.org, www.aero-tv.net, www.youtube.com/aerotvnetwork, http://twitter.com/AeroNews

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