Page 6 - World Airshow Autumn 2020
P. 6

JIM FRONEBERGER: EDITOR



                 A Light at the End of the Tunnel?





                            T    here’s an old saying, “There’s a   TAKING CARE OF DOC
                                 light  at  the  end  of  the  tunnel;  I
                                                                  The loss of airshows has had a major negative impact on the
                                 just hope it’s not an oncoming
                                 train.” As the airshow business   volunteer charitable organizations that rely on airshow events to
                                                               help fund the high operation costs of their vintage warbirds. In
                             has carefully navigated the COVID-19   September, contributor Ryan Grantonic had the opportunity to
                             crisis over the summer of 2020 and   speak to the Executive Director & General Manager of one such
                             into the fall, that old saying has crossed   organization, Doc’s Friends, about how the pandemic has affect-
                             my mind more than once.           ed the operation of one of the world’s only two flying examples of
                                While the first four months of the   the B-29 Superfortress bomber, Doc. His interview in this issue
                             2020 airshow season were basically a   with Josh Wells provides insight into how they have adapted to
                             total loss, by July, some creative air-  the challenges presented by 2020.
                             show promoters were finally figuring   Finally, no issue of World Airshow News would be complete
                             out ways to hold airshows in the CO-  without at least one of our signature performer profile articles.
        VID-19 era – over lakes, over beaches, and as drive-in events. By   Airshow performer Patrick McAlee offers his own first-person
        October and November, there were even a couple of traditional   account of how an “average guy” from an aviation family comes
        airshows held in Florida, with spectators allowed onto the airport   to fulfill his dream of flying aerobatics and performing in air-
        to set up their chairs and view the show much like normal (but   shows. With the help of his wife Natalia, Patrick is creating a new
        with some special public health protocols in place).   superhero-themed airshow entertainment package that is sure to
           In this issue of  World Airshow News, we are bringing you   thrill airshow fans both young and old in 2021.
        some expanded coverage of some of the shows that were able to
        actually take flight, and which offer hope for a better year in 2021.   LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
        In past years, we have typically covered the numerous airshows   What that future holds as we look forward to 2021 is anyone’s
        that take place each month through the Airshow Highlights and   guess at this point. While the success of those late summer and
        Airshow Snapshots photos we feature in each issue. For this issue,   fall shows does offer that proverbial light at the end of a long,
        however, we felt it was important to more specifically highlight   dark tunnel, the uncertainty that still surrounds the whole CO-
        the great work done by some of the dedicated airshow organizers   VID pandemic represents the potential oncoming train. As this
        who managed to pull off successful events during a virus pan-  issue was going to press, COVID cases and hospitalizations were
        demic. Thanks to several of our contributing writers/photogra-  rising to records in many Midwestern and Mountain West states
        phers who were able to make it to these shows, we are able to   that had previously avoided big spikes over the first six months
        offer full reports on the OC Airshow in Ocean City, Maryland;   of the pandemic. With colder winter weather approaching, forc-
        Airshow London SkyDrive in London, Ontario, Canada; The Bell   ing people indoors more, the potential for further virus spread
        Fort Worth Alliance Air Show and Wings Over Houston in Tex-  continues to cast a lot of uncertainty on what 2021 might really
        as; and Wings Over North Georgia in Rome.              bring.
                                                                  While continued uncertainty is seemingly unavoidable for
        STAYING PROFICIENT                                     now, the airshow industry is looking ahead to what we hope will
           With so few shows taking place this year, keeping current and   be a much better 2021. The annual ICAS Convention will be held
        proficient has become a challenge for many airshow performers   in virtual format in early December and performers and show
        and other industry professionals. With that in mind, airshow per-  organizers are busy preparing for a great 2021 airshow season.
        former Nathan Hammond got creative and hosted two training   The Navy’s Blue Angels have taken delivery of their new Fat Al-
        sessions – one in June and a second in October – to help airshow   bert C-130J Super Hercules support aircraft, and their transition
        professionals stay on top of their game. In our cover story, Shel-  to their new F/A-18E/F Super Hornets is well underway in an ex-
        don Heatherington reports on the October event, complete with   panded 2020-21 off-season training period. They hope to debut
        some outstanding photography. Also in this issue, Brad Haskin   their new jets April 10-11, 2021 at the original birthplace of the
        tells the entertaining story of how he and his brother Randall   Blue Angels, NAS Jacksonville, Florida. When it happens, we will
        made their way to another training event – the North American   be there to cover it.
        Trainer Association Formation Clinic in Millington, Tennessee.   We wish you all a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season.
        Contributor Tom Pawlesh also kept his photography skills sharp   Bring on 2021!
        thanks to a photo workshop held at the Yankee Air Museum. We
        think you will enjoy his vintage-style photos in his report on that
        event.








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