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Wed, Dec 08, 2004

ANN At ICAS '04: It Has Begun!

Convention of conventions for everything air show gets underway

What do you get when you take a convention hall full of type-A personalities with HADD (Horizontal Attitude Deficit Disorder), stuff them into one room, tell them to wear Hawaiian shirts so loud they're more effective than the new GPS-enhanced ELT's, unveil four open bars and start the music?

The International Council of Air Shows 2004 Convention is off to a roaring start, and it looks like attendance will once again break the previous year's record during this year's activities December 6-9. ANN is here to bring you all the news on the very cool aircraft, the high-energy performers and the exhibitors that make air shows the kind of activities that the entire family can enjoy.

In a conversation with long-time ICAS member Bobby Bishop -- he holds membership number 12, ICAS has over 2,000 members now -- the famous air show performer told us that it looks like this show will see higher attendance than last year's convention in Dallas.

"From what I have seen, it looks like registrations are higher than last year. Not by a lot, but definitely higher, and that's good. Besides, look at this room!" commented Bishop as he surveyed the large crowd of at least 700 people gathered for opening reception at the Rio All-Suites Casino Convention Center in Las Vegas (NV).

ANN Associate Editor Juan Jimenez arrived early to get an early start on the best news to be had at the show, and it looks like there's going to be lots of that here in Vegas. There are quite a few new performers at the convention who participated in the equivalent of air show boot camp, Air Show 101. This annual session has a cost of $195 and teaches the basics of air show ops to the freshman class, including subjects such as air show planning, organization and site layout; waivers and certificates of authorization, event coordination; ground ops and aircraft support; briefings; emergency planning and others.

In fact, the convention is as much an educational effort as it is a place where performers, exhibitors, sponsors and even some fans can renew the bonds that tie them together to their very unique chosen line of business. The US Air Force teaches Air Show University at ICAS, a series of workshops for civilian and active-duty members of the Air Force that want to learn the art of organizing an air show and open house at a military facility.

Of course, the education does not stop there; the rest of the four days are packed full of seminars and presentations, from roundtable discussions to Thunderbirds forums to tips on putting together small air shows.

Stay tuned during the next few days for the scoop from the ICAS Convention, because ANN will be here to bring as much of it as we can lasso right to your screen.



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