OPS BULL - ICAS Operations Bulletin

Posted on 31 October 2017 by RM

Volume 10, Number 7, September, 29, 2017


 ICAS member Rob Holland won his seventh consecutive International Aerobatic Club (IAC) National Championship in the Unlimited category on Friday, September 29th.  Holland has now tied air show legend and former World Aerobatic Champion Leo Loudenslager for the most number of U.S. Unlimited National Championships.  Earlier this month, Holland won the four-minute freestyle competition for the fourth consecutive time at the World Aerobatic Championships in Malelane, South Africa.


 In what we believe is an historic first, a major air show featuring military single-ship demo performances will be held inside a stadium-style motor speedway. On October 14 and 15, the Atlanta Air Show will be held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, about 30 miles due south of Atlanta. Organized by B. Lilley Productions, the show will feature the F-16 Viper demo, the F-18 Super Hornet demo, John Klatt's Screamin' Sasquatch, Matt Chapman and his Extra 330, Kent Pietsch, Buck Roetman, the Sky Soldiers helicopter demonstration team, the Army Black Daggers Parachute Team and more.

 Several Red Bull Air Races have been held at auto racing stadiums and, earlier this year, the New Jersey Motor Sports Park hosted some spectators who watched the Millville Wheels and Wings Airshow at nearby Millville Airport, but this appears to be the first time that a U.S. air show has hosted a traditional air show that included jet demos at a stadium-style race track. The FAA issued the waiver for the Atlanta Air Show earlier this week.

 "From an industry perspective, this is an experiment that we've been waiting to see for years," says ICAS President John Cudahy. "The stadium already has built-in seating, toilet facilities, concessions stands, VIP hospitality suites and parking. If the folks in Atlanta can make this work, it's the kind of thing that could be repeated at other race venues all over the country."


 When ICAS works best, it functions as an information clearinghouse to help members learn from the past experiences - both good and bad - of others in the business. Over time, our business has learned many important lessons about ramp lay-out…lessons that should not have to be re-learned by others through trial and error.  As we enter the time of year during which we prepare for the upcoming air show season, we offer a few rules of thumb for you to consider:

 •             Assign the smartest person in your organization to handle parking. Traffic and parking are routinely identified by spectators as the single biggest challenge facing air show organizers. Ingress and egress, staffing, shuttle buses, overall traffic flow, and handicap parking are all key considerations. Always remember to look at the big picture; if you are projecting crowds of 100,000 (or 1,000 or 10,000 or 50,000) on each day, it's important that you be sure that you have sufficient parking to accommodate those very large numbers of people.

 •             If you are working with a master concessionaire, review your ramp lay-out plans with him/her before you finalize those plans. Master concessionaires have insight and experience that can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes and maximize the effectiveness of traffic patterns, viewing areas, concessions sales and static display positioning.

 •             Security lines can be an obstacle to a pleasurable experience for your spectators. If you are planning to welcome 15,000 people per day onto your ramp and you expect all of them to pass through security screening, then it's important to do the analysis on what kind of throughput you need to accommodate that many people. On average, how long does it take one person to go through security without a bag that needs to be inspected? With a bag that needs to be inspected? How many people can you process per minute? Per hour? How many magnetometers will you need? Based on that analysis, is it reasonable to expect an immediate back-up and long line that persists all day? Are there alternatives to your original security plan? If not, do you have the ability to bring in additional security personnel?

 •             Last second changes to basic ramp lay-out issues like entry points to the ramp should be avoided and, if absolutely necessary, should be communicated broadly to all those impacted. Changes to the location of entrance/exits, large static display aircraft and other details on which the rest of the ramp lay-out is based can be extraordinarily disruptive. When designed properly, decisions about placement of individual elements of the show provide synergy to the overall lay-out, flow and "feel" of the ramp. When a critical element of that design is changed, it can create significant problems, including dramatic decrease in concessions sales.


 The organizers of the Oregon International Air Show helped the air show community take a big step forward in the demonstration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at public air shows at their event in Hillsboro, September 22-24.

 The show became the first civilian event to conduct UAS (part 333) operations at a public air show.  Show organizers worked for nearly a full year to get proper authorization from the FAA.

 Meanwhile, following the Chicago Air & Water Show last month, two different individuals who operated drones during the show are facing $20,000 fines and a felony conviction for improper operation of drones during the show in an area that could have become a safety hazard for performing pilots.

 "Clearly, the lesson is that - one way or another - drones are going to be a bigger and bigger part of the air show business," says Dan Hollowell, ICAS Vice President of Safety and Operations. "On the one hand, the FAA is working closely with event organizers and UAS operators to use our venues as a place to demonstrate the capabilities of the machines. Thanks to the work of shows like Hillsboro and Elmendorf AFB last year, we're learning how to showcase drones safely in front of large crowds. But we also need to be aware that unauthorized unmanned aerial systems will become more prolific and a growing safety hazard at air shows all over the world."

 Last year, ICAS teamed up with the FAA to conduct a "No Drone Zone" campaign for air shows working to eliminate unauthorized UAS as an air show safety hazard. Click here to see and/or download the materials generated to support the program.


 More than 25 years ago, following an especially tragic period in the history of North American air shows, the leadership of the International Council of Air Shows developed a written statement that encapsulated what it believed to be the air show industry's collective commitment to safety.  Short and to the point, the ICAS Safety Creed has served the industry well for more than two decades. From time to time, it's useful to remind ourselves about that vision for safety that ICAS has been pursuing for the last 25 years.

 "ICAS represents our great industry. The founding members set standards that have contributed to an enviable spectator safety record. These standards are dynamic and have been continuously improved through years of preparation and experience. ICAS membership carries with it the responsibility of maintaining these safety standards.

 "As an ICAS member:

 "I shall remember first and foremost that spectators place their trust and well-being in my mature judgment and professional actions. I shall continuously strive to be deserving of this trust.

 "I shall not knowingly violate or stand idly by if others violate the spirit or intent of the rules and standards set forth by ICAS or regulatory authorities.

 "I shall work to create an environment that does not invite or promote unsafe actions and do my best to instill these values in my fellow ICAS members.

 "I shall not think in terms of my event or my performance. Any adverse safety circumstances at one event may bring irrevocable consequences to the entire industry. It is our industry and our responsibility."