ICAS Announces 2018 Airshow Award Winners

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Several stars of the airshow industry took home top honors at this year’s annual International Council of Airshows Convention in Las Vegas, NV.

SWORD OF EXCELLENCE

Julie Clark, known best for her patriotic red, white and blue T-34 act was awarded the Sword of Excellence, the airshow industry’s highest honor. This award is presented to a member who exemplifies outstanding service and personal contributions to the industry. The selection committee for the award is made up of a member of the board of directors, two past award recipients and two at-large members with at least 10 years of airshow experience.

A pilot for more than 45 years and a retired Northwest Airlines captain, Clark is rated in more than 66 types of aircraft. Her T-34 Mentor, named “Free Spirit”, is an icon of the industry and the center piece of her patriotic act with red, white, and blue smoke along with ground launched fireworks.

Clark, age 70, has previously won the Crystal Eagle award presented by the Aero Club of Northern California, and she was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2016.

Also taking home the Sword of Excellence in 2018 was European Airshow Council Board Chairman Gilbert Buekenberghs. For the past 30 years, Gilbert has helped form and build the European Airshow Council, which is the sister organization to ICAS in Europe and North Africa. ICAS said that “from meeting planner, safety advocate and goodwill ambassador to publisher, politician and publicist, he did all that was necessary to build the EAC into an organization delivering significant benefits to its members and changing forever the trajectory of the entire European air show business.”

Clark and Buekenberghs are the 45th and 46th recipients of the awards since its inception.

ART SCHOLL MEMORIAL SHOWMANSHIP AWARD

The Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship award is given to an airshow act or performer that best exemplifies the qualities of showmanship demonstrated by Art Scholl. Scholl was a long-time and active ICAS member, known for his airshow performances but also for his many appearances in motion picture films, documentaries, and television commercials. Scholl died while filming such a flying sequence for the movie “Top Gun” off the coast of California in 1985.

The 2018 recipients were the Darnell family, for their innovations in the airshow industry through their jet powered vehicles. With a fleet that includes Shockwave, Aftershock and the Flash Fire Pickups, their jet acts have been seen by millions across the nation over the years. Neal, Chris, Marilyn, and Brooke Darnell were lauded for the multi-dimensional entertainment experience they bring to air shows, as well as their consistency, reliability, and professionalism.

2018 BOB HOOVER WINGMAN AWARD

Sue Gardner was presented with the Bob Hoover Wingman Award during the Chairman’s Banquet in recognition of her work as the FAA’s national aviation events specialist and principal policy liaison with the US air show community. As part of Sue’s job, she works with the industry to help establish a partnership between the FAA and the airshow community to help improve airshow safety without adding additional regulatory burden.

Specifically, the award presentation remarks noted her efforts to return air show aircraft to the air following the terrorist attacks of September, 2001, her contribution to efforts to harmonize US and Canadian air show policy, her commitment to institutionalizing the prohibition on aerobatic energy directed at the crowd, the major role she played in two major rewrites of FAA air show policy, and the collaborative approach she has brought to her position as national aviation events specialist.

2018 DICK SCHRAM MEMORIAL AWARD RECIPIENT

The MacDill Air Force Base open house was named the recipient of the Dick Schram Memorial Community Relations Award for the work that it did to combine a regional Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Fair with its annual open house.

MacDill displayed 50 different STEAM exhibits for 1,300 students from 29 different schools on the Friday before their weekend show. Additionally, less than half the overall air show is now funded using government appropriated funds, due to a unique and successful partnership with local businesses.

The award is presented in honor of Dick Schram, a former Blue Angel who was an engaged member of the air show community before passing away unexpectedly in 1987. The award has now been presented to 30 different military facilities to recognize and showcase the work that they have done in using their air shows and open houses to strengthen relationships in the communities where the bases are located.

Walt Pierce Wingwalking Stearman - AirshowStuff

INDUCTIONS INTO THE AIR SHOW HALL OF FAME

The ICAS Foundation Air Show Hall of Fame welcomed event organizer Terry Grevious and performer Walt Pierce as its 66th and 67th members during ceremonies at the ICAS Convention.

Grevious helped launch the Muskegon Air Fair in 1984 and turned it into one of the most successful air shows in North America before assuming leadership of the Dayton Air Show in Dayton, Ohio. Grevious was cited for his innovation, strong management skills, and professionalism.

Walt Pierce was a well-respected wing walking pilot who performed all over the US and Canada in his Stearman biplane. He was recognized for his skills as an aviator and his professionalism during a career that began in the 1960s.

Congrats to all the 2018 award winners!

Interesting Observations From The 2019/2020 Military And Jet Team Schedules

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Military, Schedules | 3

USAF Thunderbirds and Crowd - AirshowStuff

Last week we got our best glimpse yet as to what the 2019 and 2020 airshow seasons will look like when the jet team and military demonstration schedules were announced at the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) Convention in Las Vegas. We here at AirshowStuff were the first to post them publicly, and you can review them here on our blog or in our forums.

Although much of the information is pretty standard, there are always some surprises and less obvious revelations tucked away in the list of dates and shows. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits we noticed:

  • One of the hottest topics in airshow circles these days is the RAF Red Arrows US/Canada tour in August and September. The Reds did have a couple of representatives at the convention, but they disappointed fans everywhere by not releasing a schedule with the rest of the teams. This wasn’t shocking really, but it does leave some fans stuck in limbo for travel plans. Stay tuned to AirshowStuff – we’ll bring you the schedule as soon as they do announce it!
  • The North American jet teams cross paths at least a few times each year, and 2019 is no exception. The real surprise is the show at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, D.C., which features a rare combination of the US Navy Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds plus the A-10 Warthog demo team. The Canadian Snowbirds will meet each US team once during the year; the Blue Angels in Ocean City, MD and the Thunderbirds in Abbotsford, BC.
  • Numerous shows will feature multiple single-ship demonstrations, but especially noteworthy are Milwaukee and Cleveland. Milwaukee has the benefit of sharing their weekend with EAA AirVenture just up the road in Oshkosh, WI, so it’s not shocking that they will get the Thunderbirds and the newly approved F-35 Lightning II Demo and also borrow the F-22 Raptor and F-16 Fighting Falcon from Oshkosh for a Heritage Flight. Hopefully Oshkosh gets something in return! Cleveland sees the Thunderbirds, but also gets the F-35 and A-10 demo teams in an unusual collection of Air Force teams at a civilian show.
  • Not counting a handful of US appearances in Canada, there are two international airshows on the schedules for the US teams. The Thunderbirds will head to Rionegro, Colombia in July, and the A-10 demonstration team will perform at Santa Lucia AB in Mexico in April. Both seem a little random, but at least the teams will not be gone on an extended tour.
  • The RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team will not be performing at any US shows in 2019. We noticed that their schedule was cut down significantly and hoped that additional shows might be approved later, but it was then reported that the season is intentionally being “condensed” amid personnel shortages and aircraft maintenances woes in the RCAF. This is definitely disappointing because the CF-18 carries a special paint scheme every year, so it’s a bit of a collector’s item among photographers.
  • One item that was noticed when the preliminary 2019 schedules were released a year ago is that the NAS Oceana Airshow will not host the Blue Angels for the first time in memory. In a strange twist, the Thunderbirds are scheduled for that one! The Blue Angels will instead be flying at NAS Lemoore in California, the first airshow there in many years. Oceana is also considered a favorite to land the Red Arrows during their US/Canada tour, so there is a real possibility of having two jet teams at Oceana but no Blue Angels.
  • The US Marines are bad at releasing schedules. Not only do they only list a few shows, there are always errors and inconsistencies with the more polished lists released by other organizations. This year is no exception. Just three AV-8B Harrier demonstrations were announced, and four MV-22 Osprey demonstrations. For the record, last year four of each were announced but roughly eight shows saw Osprey demos by the time the season was over. The problem is that the Marines do not have dedicated teams or pilots, they simply fly the demonstrations with regular units that have much less availability. Their schedules also don’t mention the Marine Corps Air Station airshows that end up hosting demonstrations.
  • Looking ahead to the preliminary 2020 schedules, the very first thing that screams off the page is a shortened Blue Angels season, ending in October. This isn’t an error; the season still ends with the traditional homecoming show in Pensacola, just a month before it usually takes place. This indicates an intentional extension to the off season, and comes just in time (actually a little early in our opinion) for the planned transition to Super Hornets. Nothing has been announced, but it sure looks like 2021 may be the first year in the new jets!
  • A more minor entry in the Blue Angels’ 2020 schedule is the airshow at CFB Cold Lake in Alberta. The Blues list the show as August 8-9, but the organizers were quick to start promoting July 18-19 instead. Normally this would be a simple date swap, but the July dates happen to be one of the rest weekends the team is obligated to take; the team cannot perform more than seven weekends in a row. These breaks were instituted following the fatal crash of Blue Angel #6 pilot Capt. Jeff Kuss in 2016. If the organizers are to be believed, this rest weekend will be filled and the schedule will show nine performance weeks between breaks. Expect some more shuffling to occur, but luckily there is plenty of time for all involved to sort it out.

Did you notice anything else interesting in the schedules? Who are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on our forums!

ATC Privatization Threatens The Airshow Community

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ATC Privatization Threatens the Airshow Community

Pending legislation in Congress would pose a threat to the airshow community.

If this legislation becomes law, authority for managing airspace in the US would be transferred from the US Government to a nonprofit board, disproportionately made up of airline representatives and other officials with financial ties to the airlines.

This form of ATC privatization is a bad idea and will create significant challenges for airshow event organizers and performers if it becomes law, including increased prices, difficulty getting airspace access, and a host of other problems that would make airshows more expensive and more difficult to organize. Some shows might even go out of business entirely.

This poses a threat to the airshows we all love and support. The time has come to act. The International Council of Airshows (ICAS) and airshow performers are encouraging airshow fans to contact their local congressmen or congresswoman and express their concerns.

Call 855-265-9002 to be connected to a switchboard which can then connect you to your local representative.

You can also find the name and contact information for your congressman or congresswoman by clicking here. You may write your own email message or letter to your congressional representative, or you can use one of several different sample letters that ICAS has generated for this purpose here, here, here, here, here, and here. If you’d prefer to call your congressional representative, that’s helpful too. If you would like to educate yourself on the elaborate fictions the airlines and other advocates for this scheme have constructed to promote the idea, click here.

ICAS Recognizes Airshow Industry Leaders And Innovators At 2016 Awards Banquet

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Bill Stein - Sword of Excellence Winner

While the annual International Council of Airshows convention is a place for performers, organizers, and support staff to meet and coordinate the following show season, it also offers a chance to reflect on previous seasons and recognize standout individuals and groups. The event culminates in an awards banquet where airshow professionals celebrate their own with their highest honors.

At this year’s banquet on December 8th, several airshow performers were honored with distinguished awards.

SWORD OF EXCELLENCE – Bill Stein

The airshow industry’s highest honor is the Sword of Excellence, presented to a member who exemplifies outstanding service and personal contributions to the industry. Over the past three decades, 40 recipients have been honored with the award. The selection committee for the award is made up of a member of the board of directors, two past award recipients and two at-large members with at least 10 years of airshow experience.

Bill has worked over the years to enhance the airshow industry by working with ICAS and the FAA to develop “reasonable, workable language on ‘aerobatic energy directed at the crowd,’ and certification currency requirements.”

As a member of the Aerobatic Competency Evaluation (ACE) Committee for nearly seven years, Bill’s work has been incredibly helpful creating guidance responsible for decreasing fatal airshow incidents through the ICAS ACE Manual.

ICAS also says they decided to honor Bill due to his extensive mentorship time with new air show pilots, helping to coach them through his experiences as both a solo pilot and a formation pilot.

Geico Sktypers - Art Scholl Showmanship Award

ART SCHOLL MEMORIAL SHOWMANSHIP AWARD – Geico Skytypers

The Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship award is given to an airshow act or performer that best exemplifies the qualities of showmanship demonstrated by Art Scholl. Scholl was a long-time and active ICAS member, known for his airshow performances but also for his many appearances in motion picture films, documentaries, and television commercials. Scholl died while filming such a flying sequence for a movie off the coast of California in 1985.

The Geico Skytypers were awarded ICAS’ highest showmanship award at the 2016 ICAS convention for not only their work in the air, but also for creating new and innovative ways to share the love of aviation and airshow flying with the public.

The team, based in Farmingdale, NY, is a six-ship WWII-era SNJ-2 (T-6 Texan) formation team, known for their formation flying and aerial skytyping. The large messages they type in the sky are 1,000 feet tall and can be visible for up to 15 miles in any direction. Due to this extreme visibility, ICAS credits the Geico Skytypers with generating interest in people who may not even know an aviation event is occurring in their community.

On the ground, the Skytypers maintain a strong community outreach effort, sharing their passion for aviation with airshow fans through autograph sessions, school, youth and veterans visits and spending time with community groups. The team also has it’s “In-Formation” webisode series, which gives a unique perspective into the world of airshow formation flying.

WINGMAN AWARD – Rudy Malnati

The Wingman award, renamed this year to honor and recognize the late Bob Hoover, is presented each year to an individual who has been a reliable supporter or advocate of the airshow business.

The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS)’s Wingman Award was presented to Rudy Malnati. Rudy is the long-time director of several Midwest airshows, including the Chicago Air and Water Show. He has spent 50 years working in the airshow industry, and first worked at the Chicago Air and Water Show in 1963 as a first grader! He attended his first ICAS meeting in 1967, at the ripe age of 13. By 15, he was helping to book acts.

Throughout his career, he has earned recognition from the U.S Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Army Golden Knights, becoming a honorary member of both teams. He is respected by his peers, who say he is “the personification of what it means to be a good wingman”.

Cleveland National Airshow 2016 - E-2 Hawkeye and A-10 Warthog

PINNACLE AWARDS

The Pinnacle Award honors recipients who “showcase professionalism, innovation in problem solving, and overall excellence in airshow operations and management.” Awards are given in the small, mid-size, and large civilian airshow and military airshows/open houses categories. Three other Pinnacvle Awards are given in the civilian performer, military performer, and support service provider categories. The 2016 winners are:

SUPPORT SERVICE PROVIDERS

  • Gold Recipient – Precision Exotics
  • Platinum Recipient – ADC Group, Inc.

MILITARY PERFORMER

  • Platinum Recipient – Captain Maciej “Match” Hatta (Snowbird #3)

CIVILIAN PERFORMERS

  • Gold Recipient – Commemorative Air Force B24/B29 Squadron
  • Platinum Recipient – Greg Shelton Airshows

MILITARY OPEN HOUSES/AIR SHOWS

  • Gold Recipient – MacDill Air Force Base presents Tampa Bay AirFest
  • Platinum Recipient – Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Airshow

SMALL CIVILIAN AIR SHOWS (tie for Platinum)

  • Platinum Recipient #1a – Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival
  • Platinum Recipient #1b – The Highest Air Show on Earth

MID-SIZE CIVILIAN AIR SHOWS

  • Gold Recipient – Duluth Air and Aviation Expo/Kern and Kompany
  • Platinum Recipient – Lynchburg Regional Air Show

LARGE CIVILIAN AIR SHOWS

  • Gold Recipient – Cleveland National Air Show
  • Platinum Recipient – Bell Helicopter Fort Worth Alliance Air Show

If you’d like to learn more, ICAS has provided detailed biographies on each award winner.

AirshowStuff congratulates all the winners of this year’s awards. We can’t wait to see you in 2017!

Bavarian OV-10 Bronco Demo Team Looking Ahead To 2018 North American Airshow Tour

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OV-10 Bronco Deam Team
Photo source: Bronco Demo Team

The Bavarian OV-10 Bronco Demo Team, a well known performer on the European airshow circuit, is looking to arrange a North American airshow tour in 2018. The team is announcing the tour now as they work to book dates at the ICAS convention this week. They will need to book approximately 30 airshows in order to make the trip feasible. Another European performer, the Breitling Jet Team, recently wrapped up their North American tour after performing in the US and Canada over the last two years.

The Bronco Demo Team operates a pair of North American OV-10 Broncos, a twin-turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. The type served with the US Air Force, Navy, and Marines during the Vietnam War and was exported to other countries as well. The Marine Corps operated the Bronco until the 1990s, and deployed them during the Gulf War. Recently, several OV-10s were re-purposed and deployed the Middle East to support special operations forces in the fight against ISIS. The OV-10Bs operated by the team served as target tugs with the German military.

If the team’s efforts prove successful, we may see an influx of European performers in the coming years. Make sure you contact your local airshow organizer and request to see the Bronco Demo Team in 2018!

OV-10 Bronco Demo Team - North American Tour Info

Airshow Performers Ask for Fans’ Help

posted in: Aerobatics, Airshows, Warbirds | 0

Patty Wagstaff

It’s a well known fact that participating in airshows is expensive – planes, fuel, smoke oil, travel, and hotel costs all take a toll on the airshow performer. It’s harder and harder to get and keep sponsorship now than it used to be. As a result, a few airshow performers have taken to unconventional ways of trying to raise funds.

Patty Wagstaff, a Bill Barber Award for Showmanship recipient and inductee into many airshow and aviation hall of fames is asking for help to raise money for a new airplane. She started a GoFundMe campaign, a popular way to raise money through crowd sourcing.

Since starting on July 3rd, the campaign has raised $3,275 (as of July 10th) and is asking for nearly $450,000. Patty, who started the campaign herself posted an explanation on her Facebook fan page for the campaign after receiving some criticism. In it, she says she figured “why not?” when starting the campaign. She needs “a new airplane and needs support,” and says that she “loves supporting other people and think(s) people have been pretty successful on crowdfunding sites.” Fans so far seem to be supportive of her, at least verbally on her fan pages. The page has accumulated over 1,200 total shares.

In addition to Patty’s campaign, another airshow performer, Scott Yoak, who flies a P-51 Mustang affectionately known as “Quicksilver” is also asking for help. Scott’s campaign won’t require you to pull out your credit card though; Quicksilver is in a contest run by Wells Fargo Bank to help out small businesses. Applicants had to write an essay or submit a video saying why they decided to start their business, their mission, the biggest challenge they face, what upcoming business opportunities they seek in the next 2-5 years, and how they would spend $25,000.

Scott talks about keeping history alive and how he and his father, Bill Yoak created Quicksilver P-51 Airshows to “provide a unique opportunity for airshow audiences to see, feel, and hear the power and vibrations of a historic aircraft that helped free a world at war.”

The finalists and grand prize winners will be announced in September. As of July 10th, the entry had over 3,100 views. The number of votes was not given.