Page 8 - World Airshow Autumn 2020
P. 8


                                            The Sun Will Come Up


                              I  t’s now been twelve months.   Nathan Hammond and Buck Roetman aren’t sitting around mop-
                                                               ing either. They’re polishing their acts and holding practice days
                                 That’s a whole year without fly-
                                 ing an airshow. It was about this
                                 time last year that I let my 2019   to help other performers stay sharp. Another person of interest to
                                                               watch is my favorite competitor in Decathlon flying, RJ Ritter. He
                              airshow Super Decathlon go to a new   makes his Decathlon do incredible things!
                              owner. I began anticipating the new   Instead of a depressed industry, it’s more like a time bomb.
                              one coming in the early spring for the   When  this  virus  thing  soon  ends,  airshows  will  be  more  than
                              2020 season. It was the first one I’d   ready. ICAS is taking the lead burning the midnight oil so we can
                              ordered with the Garmin G3X panel.   all meet in spite of the restrictions. Everyone hates to miss our
                              It’s always exciting. I also made a few   great convention in Las Vegas, but it is in the spirit of our airshow
                              tweaks to the paint scheme for 2020.  community that ICAS is providing a virtual venue where we can
                                 All hope for flying that plane in   still come together and do business. Don’t let doom and gloom
                              airshows died when Sun ‘n Fun fell   thoughts get you. Sign up for the virtual convention and show
                              victim to the virus. Every show I had   your support. Be ready when the flood gates open and airshows
                              as far ahead as AirVenture was can-  take off.
        celling. I had another new airplane slot I was holding for late July,   Now, more than ever, regional airshow groups are great mar-
        so I sold the spring Super Decathlon before I ever got to see it.   keting tools. I got involved with the Southeast Council of Air-
        Surely this horror story would be figured out before AirVenture.   shows (SECAS) which recently came back to life. Their first sum-
        Well, I sold that aircraft too. Now my hopes are high that I’ll get   mit was held last spring and was a big success. While the ICAS
        my 2021 Super Decathlon before the end of February.    convention provides the chance to be involved in the pulse of the
           I’m telling you now, I am not going to sell this one! I’m going   industry, the regional councils offer great opportunities for per-
        to fly it for a lot of great 2021 audiences hungry for an airshow.   sonal contact between the performers and producers. While at
        I’ve flown 34 airshow seasons over my lifetime as a performer.   SECAS, I found I had the time to sit down and talk to the people I
        One thing I have noticed over the years, when a city has gone   needed to get to know. As a performer, I found the regional coun-
        a while without an airshow, their next show is huge. The atten-  cil concept to be a big value for my marketing budget. This busi-
        dance is enthusiastic. People get excited like they have never seen   ness is highly dependent on personal acquaintance. The Regional
        an airshow. (And maybe some haven’t.) There’s really no better   concept provides that opportunity.
        an audience to fly for.                                   As for SECAS, their second summit will be in March hosted
           When the big shows like Sun ‘n Fun made that hard deci-  by the Rome, Georgia airport. While SECAS is having their three-
        sion to stand down, it might have seemed the airshow business   day event, the Rome airport will be concurrently hosting a spring
        was in big trouble. The first thing I thought was how many up-  training camp event for airshow pilots and airboss training with
        and-coming performers are going to drop out? How many senior   George Cline. The SECAS summit and the training camp are co-
        performers are going to go ahead and retire? What is the airshow   ordinated so those interested can choose to attend both at the
        industry going to look like when, or if, it tries to start back up?   same time. This is a new concept they hope will catch on with
        Is the public going to forget us? Are all future airshows going to   other regional councils. You might want to inquire at the SECAS
        be on YouTube?                                         virtual booth during the ICAS Convention.
           Oh, how easy it is to sit at home in times like these and con-
        jure up doom and gloom. It is a big mistake to underestimate   Greg Koontz is a full-time airshow performer and teaches basic
        the spirit that thrives in this industry. As for the up-and-coming   aerobatics at his Flight School/Bed & Breakfast called Sky Coun-
        performers, look up Patrick McAlee (see feature in this issue).   try Lodge. Greg is a former chairman of the ICAS ACE Commit-
        Not really a newbie, Patrick is one of many you should be fol-  tee, holds an unlimited aerobatic waiver, and has been designated a
        lowing. I’ve been watching his Facebook reports. Patrick has not   Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatics by the National Asso-
        only been practicing continuously, but he’s been developing an   ciation of Flight Instructors. Please send your comments/questions
        exciting program that includes some really fresh ideas on enter-  to
        taining and attracting young people. Mainstream performers like

                                     8  Autumn 2020
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