ICAS' Annual Airshow Convention Is Off To A Great Start
By ANN Correspondent Rob Milford
The annual air-show
confab got started under CAVU Texas skies on Sunday afternoon, as
hundreds of air show promoters and performers met at the
Wyndham-Anatole Hotel just outside downtown Dallas.
In a change of scene from the traditional Las Vegas
get-togethers, some attendees were seen wandering the hotel,
looking for the casino, and wondering out loud where the Keeno girl
This high dollar hostelry is the largest in Dallas, and as some
were arriving on Saturday night, they walked into the cities
largest single charity event, the black tie “Crystal
Ball” that pulls in more than 4 million dollars in one night.
It’s also the same hotel that hosted President Reagan for the
1984 GOP Convention.
It really is “THE” gathering in the air show
industry. Names you know and members of all the teams you know are
seen walking about in matching golf shirts, or shirts that promote
their act. Ranging from cute helicopters to Vietnam gunships, and
almost any combination of single, duo and triple aerobatic
performers in a large assortment ranging from lightweight and high
power modern single-seaters to round-engined, oil leakin’
tail draggers that growl and belch smoke.
Anything you need from a B-17 to t-shirt vendors, huge and fancy
porta-potties or an insurance company are all represented, and
there will be three solid days of meetings and educational forums
to pass along “lesson’s learned” and survival
tips for the airshow business.
Sunday’s sessions included regional meetings for air show
promoters, a pair of gatherings for ACEs (Aerobatic Competency
Evaluation) an ICAS, a “closed door” meeting tagged
“Industry Leadership Meeting” and classes aptly
named “Air Shows 101, Air/Ground Operations Basics” and
“Selling successful airshows”. There was a meeting for
all Navy airshow officers, representing NAS’s from across the
Safety continues to be the overriding theme for this years
gathering. While the number of airshow accidents was down in 2003,
the number of accidents in practice sessions, or accidents in
transit (to and from airshows) was up! The effort continues to make
it a safer industry.
Sunday night was marked with a “Welcome to Texas”
reception, where cowboy hats and longneck beers were part of the
Monday’s sessions start at 7:15AM (in the morning) and run
for more than 12 hours, with sessions on performer and airshow
contracts, a workshop on working with the Air Force, and the
opening of the convention exhibits, and the mid-day announcement of
where the U.S. military teams; The Navy’s Blue Angels, Air
Force’s Thunderbirds and the Army’s Golden Knights will
be flying, jumping and performing for the 2004 airshow season.
And part of the airshow landscape will continue to be social
activities, after the aircraft have been parked for the day, and to
make sure people can find the ICAS Bar this year, Jan Collmer
parked his Extra 300 in the red-white & blue Fina markings in
the hotel lobby, right in front of the bar!! We’ll have
a cold one for you, as we find out how he taxied it over from Love
Field for ICAS!