Page 8 - 2021-Spring
P. 8


                                       Bossers & Talkers

                              A    irshow performers are like   It’s helpful to me to work with an airboss that can go beyond the
                                   tennis shoes, they come in
                                                               standard “taxi out to the end of the runway and hold” routine. I
                                   a variety of styles and sizes.
                              There are big ones, smalls ones, old   find most airbosses are interested in making what I need happen.
                                                               I almost never find one that can’t get it.
                              ones, and new ones. If you’re think-  Actually, another favorable trait in an airboss is inflexibility.
                              ing big, you are probably thinking   A wishy-washy airboss scares me to death. I need to know that
                              Blue Angels or Thunderbirds. On the   quick, sound decisions (that I can bet my life on) are being made.
                              other hand, maybe you’re thinking   While I am depending on their sound judgment, they are de-
                              along the lines of Michael Goulian   pending on mine. They have to make calls that require me to use
                              or Kirby Chambliss. But there are   my experience and skills to respond accordingly. It’s always sat-
                              more than just the big headliners. In   isfying when there is a mutual trust and respect between the air-
                              the ranks of this business there are   boss and me. That’s what it’s all about.
                              the many hard-working entertain-   A big misperception about airshows is the essential role of the
                              ers filling up the shows with color-  announcer. A personal friend of mine is a local DJ and aviation
                              ful performances with original style   buff. His interest in airplanes makes him a pretty good airshow
        like Kyle Franklin’s Dracula and Skip Stewart’s Prometheus. And   talker. His DJ skills make him entertaining. But what is often
        don’t forget those specialty acts that bring comedy, stunts, and   overlooked is the fact that those traits are not all there is. I’m not
        jet engines on unexpected stuff like biplanes or fire trucks! There   singling out my friend or any other DJ, but I want to say it’s criti-
        are some great new acts out there just waiting for airshows to   cal to have, when the stuff hits the fan, an announcer who is pre-
        crank back up. Variety is essential to entertainment. Airshows   pared for emergencies. I’ve listened to Danny Clisham and Rob
        just wouldn’t be the same if they were just a jet team or just a   Reider as they handled terrible situations with a cool voice that
        smoking flip-flop plane.                               was no accident itself. It came with preparation and experience.
          But there are some other performers that might also often get   Many lives have been protected by professional announcers hav-
        overlooked. They get less press and are often not on the poster,   ing honed airshow announcing expertise.
        but no airshow would be a show without them. They are clearly   For most acts, announcers are an integral part of the enter-
        in view to everyone, and they don’t just pop out of the hot box for   tainment. I can fly my heart out doing my comedy act, but if the
        fifteen minutes. They perform all day long. I’m talking about the   announcer isn’t engaged, the whole thing will flop. Rob Reider
        people up on that tall stand, right up front, frying in the sun all   brings his past live-TV skills to do some great ad libbing. Danny
        day – the airbosses and the announcers. Their prep for each show   Clisham uses his many years of experience to bring some dry
        is extensive and completely different every weekend. Their lunch   humor to the narration. Veteran announcer Larry Strain and I
        break is trying to munch down a sandwich while talking, and   teamed up for my Super Decathlon act at SUN ‘n FUN 2019 for
        their “comfort” break comes when there is a chance, not when   some surprisingly great vibes as we worked together while all of
        it’s needed!                                           it was shown on the jumbotron. It’s on YouTube. Gotta love it!
          These guys come in all styles and sizes too. I’ve worked with   It’s been fourteen months since I’ve worked with bosses and
        these bosses and talkers in over 450 different airshows. I can tell   talkers at a show. I can’t tell you how much I miss it. Stay well and
        you that the top questions I have for the airshow producer is,   stay prepared. It’s all coming back!
        “Who’s you airboss and who’s your announcer?” It makes a big
        difference to me. I certainly have my favorites and my not-so-  Greg Koontz is a full-time airshow performer and teaches basic
        favorites, but I’m also smart enough to not say who they are! I’ll   aerobatics at his Flight School/Bed & Breakfast called Sky Country
        say this much though, anyone bad at their job in this business   Lodge. Greg is a former chairman of the ICAS ACE Committee,
        just doesn’t last very long, so it’s easy to say I like them all.  holds an unlimited aerobatic waiver, and has been designated a
          In my point of view, a favorable trait in an airboss is flexibility.   Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatics by the National Asso-
        Every show is different, the layout of the airport is different, and   ciation of Flight Instructors. Please send your comments/questions
        the flying acts are different. For instance, I take off during my   to
        comedy act out across the grass in some unexpected direction.

                                      8  Spring 2021
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