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GREG KOONTZ: FROM THE ACE

Was It Good for You?

      N ow that the holidays are be-                                         This year’s convention seemed to be the best in years. I know
                                         hind us and the frenzy of De-    I left with my calendar filled with new shows to do. I spent my
                                         cember has settled down to       days with every meeting I could fit in. The evenings were filled
                                         our usual hustle and bustle,     hanging out with friends, and I co-hosted a gathering along with
                                 it’s time to assess what happened in     Skip Stewart and Gary Ward. It was packed with airshow people
                                 those pre-Santa days in Las Vegas. It    of every persuasion, and all had a great time. I have to thank Cari
                                 might be a blurry memory, but stuff      Miller for injecting some enthusiasm (and class) into this event.
                                 happened there, at least to those of us  We might need to continue this tradition!
                                 that made the annual pilgrimage to
                                 the 2018 ICAS Convention.                   For me the best guest speaker was Brian Shul, the SR-71 driv-
                                                                          er. I’ve seen him before in Birmingham. That’s OK because he
                                    Attending the ICAS Convention as      has it fine-tuned to perfection. It was worth a second round. The
                                 a performer, announcer, airboss, etc.    luncheon speaker Vital Germaine and the membership-meet-
                                 is a challenge. It would be great if we  ing speaker Nick Tasler were both very talented. But, the titles of
                                 could all group together, buy match-     their presentations misled me. I was expecting people with closer
                                 ing shirts, and cruise the convention    ties to our industry. It seemed to me all I got were motivational
floor choosing airshows we’d like to attend. We would love to say,        speakers who tried to make their standard talk sound relevant
“There’s that Ashville Air Show booth, everyone walk fast and             by changing a few words. I’m hoping we have run out of motiva-
look the other way!” When caught by a big airshow producer, I’d           tional speakers for a while. If only Bob Hoover could come back.
like the chance to say, “I’ll be right back,” and then disappear for-     He had the whole convention riveted to their seats. How about a
ever! And wouldn’t it be wonderful to skip the last couple of floor       Steve Hinton or Corkey Fornof?
sessions to nurse a hangover.
   But that ain’t gonna happen. Nope, we do pre-show market-                 The ACE meeting wasn’t in the entertainment category, but
ing, and spend our profits on sponsorship or advertising to get           that wasn’t its purpose. It was a time to get the old stuff fixed and
ready. We design booths, ship all kinds of stuff, and set it all up       the new stuff straight, and Dan did a great job of just that. The
like we think it’s going to be a big customer magnet. We stand in         format was different this year and that was good too. It’s good to
the booth wearing big smiles handing out candy and business               see it evolve.
cards until our cheeks hurt and our feet swell. In the end, there’s
so many business cards left over, yet the candy is long gone. The            As for the Performer Safety Stand Down, well, change is not
last day on the convention floor is like a private party with a sign      always progress. A lot of floor time was given to some cool fight-
that says, “Performers Only.”                                             er-jet demo pilots, and the discussion of our current and relative
   But that’s what conventions are like. The point of crowded re-         accidents were therefore rushed. A seriously relevant and techni-
ceptions and the convention floor ritual is to bring us all together      cal discussion on the effects of negative-to-positive Gs was cut
in one big place. It’s our chance to mingle and meet. I don’t know        short and ruined. Let me just say that if I am ever going to be a
any other way to do it. If there was, I bet the staff at ICAS would       jet-fighter demo pilot in the Paris Air Show, I already have my
be the first to try it. Repeating the same old pattern year after year    safety brief done!
must be driving them insane!
   The hint from ICAS is, they are going to shake up the whole               That’s my honest take on the best convention we have had so
plan next year. I’m intrigued by the notion, but I have no idea           far. I’m looking forward to some surprises next year. I hope to see
how any significant changes could happen. Safety meetings need            you there.
to meet. Training sessions need to train. These are constantly
growing and evolving things – new blood entering as the old re-              Greg Koontz is a full-time airshow performer and teaches basic
tire. And nothing is more fun than putting two hundred pilots             aerobatics at his Flight School/Bed & Breakfast called Sky Country
in a room and watching ICAS Vice President of Safety and Op-              Lodge. Greg is a former chairman of the ICAS ACE Committee,
erations Dan Hollowell try to keep control. But those meetings            holds an unlimited aerobatic waiver, and has been designated a
are really productive and educational in spite of us. I never miss        Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatics by the National Asso-
them.                                                                     ciation of Flight Instructors. Please send your comments/questions
                                                                          to Greg@GKairshows.com

www.airshowmag.com 8 January/February 2019
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