Thursday, April 16, 2009

ICAS Fast Facts -- April 16, 2009


ICAS member and air show performer Bob Baranaskas of Warbirds over Long Island was killed on Sunday, April 5 when he was involved in an accident while practicing air show maneuvers in his P-40 Warhawk over the ocean near Fire Island in New York. In a written statement, Bob’s son Chris Baranaskas, who was serving as a safety observer at the time of the accident, reported that Baranaskas was, “in the middle of [a half] Cuban eight when it went into a spin.”

The NTSB is investigating the causes of the accident and has already completed a preliminary report on the accident


ICAS recently learned that ICAS member and air show performer Harry Shepard passed away on March 21 from complications related to pneumonia following a short illness.


What started as a curiosity has now developed into a full-fledged trend. Air show attendance is up, almost without exception and throughout the country. In the last issue of Fast Facts, we reported on record crowds at Punta Gorda, Florida, Columbus, Georgia, and Luke AFB in Arizona. We neglected to mention that – just the week before those three shows – NAS El Centro in California and MCAS Yuma in Arizona also had record crowds.

Now we’re learning that the Riverside Air Show in southern California, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama show, and a weekend show at Keesler AFB in Mississippi all welcomed record setting crowds. In some cases, these records were for one-day attendance with bad weather on the second day of the two-day weekend, but industry veterans have gone from cautiously optimistic to conditionally confident: there has not been an air show yet this year that has had good weather and disappointing crowds. Indeed, with good weather, most of the shows we have heard from are setting new attendance records.

However, most shows – both those that have already been held and those that have not – continue to report considerable challenges in attracting sponsorship support.


One of the most interesting trends-within-a-trend to emerge from the first few weeks of the 2009 air show season is the preponderance of horrific traffic problems.

As noted in this and previous issues of Fast Facts, many air shows are seeing an increase in attendance as the public seeks cost-efficient, family-oriented entertainment alternatives. For some shows, this is putting unexpected stress on the event’s logistical infrastructure. Parking and traffic “systems” that were designed around “standard” attendance figures are bending and, in some cases, breaking under the weight of significant increases in the total number of vehicles.

These traffic problems have multiple, negative impacts on a show. From lost revenue and community ill will to safety hazards and the inopportune distractions for your leadership and volunteers, the many and varied impacts of traffic and parking issues should be on your mind as you and your team identify and solve potential problems for your show this year.

Several shows that reported record attendance in 2009 have subsequently been severely criticized in the local media for failing to anticipate and plan for these “challenges.” Don’t put yourself in the position of having to improvise on the Saturday morning of air show weekend. Learn from the unfortunate experiences of your fellow ICAS members. If you have a parking plan that you think might become a problem with some increase in attendance, start developing contingency plans now.


Goulian Aerosports and Pilot Mall are hosting an open house at Sun ‘n Fun on Thursday, April 23 from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. with proceeds to benefit the ICAS Foundation. The open house will be located in the Pilot Mall exhibit area, located just across from Exhibit Hall B on the Sun ‘n Fun show grounds. Your admittance is free. Pilot Mall will provide snacks and drinks. You’ll have a chance to spend some social time with your aviation and air show colleagues. And any money generated through raffles or auction items will go to the ICAS Foundation. If you think you’d like to come, RSVP directly to Pilot Mall President Neil Gazer at


ICAS member and air show videographer Mark Magin of OnBoard Images will be a featured speaker at next week’s National Association of Broadcasters Convention and trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Magin, who will make a presentation on high definition, on-board camera systems during the convention’s Technical Innovations Forum, is recognized as an industry trailblazer in this important area of digital broadcast technology.

"This is an incredible opportunity to introduce this cutting edge technology to a large audience of broadcast professionals," says Magin.


The early bird gets the worm. And the cheapest registration fees. And a guaranteed room at the convention host hotel. And the best possible exhibit booth location. And the least expensive airline tickets.

A few details on the 2009 ICAS Convention for all of our early birds:

The entire schedule is one-day earlier within the week. The Air Force Air Shows Workshop will be held on Saturday (rather than the traditional Sunday), December 5. Exhibit set-up for the 2009 ICAS Convention will be Sunday (rather than the traditional Monday), December 6. Our traditional welcome reception will also be held on the evening of Sunday, December 6. We’ll have a football theme and we’re encouraging all of our members to come dressed in their favorite team’s colors. The annual pilot safety de-brief session will also be held on Sunday. And, for the first time, we’ll have several break-out education sessions on the afternoon of Sunday, December 6.

The opening keynote session and our first exhibit sessions will be held on the morning of Monday (rather than normal Tuesday), December 7. On Monday evening, we’re also pleased to announce that ICAS will host a special “members only” concert featuring country music recording artist Aaron Tippin. The Marketing Competition luncheon will be held on Tuesday, December 8 and the annual Chairman’s Banquet will be held on Wednesday, December 9.

ICAS has recently loaded a new, even-more-user-friendly, on-line convention registration tool on the ICAS website. Click here to register for the 2009 ICAS Convention. If you’re looking for the very lowest ICAS Convention registration rates, they are available now.

Exhibit booths at the ICAS Convention are still available. For more information and available booth locations, contact Karen Connors at ICAS headquarters, by e-mail at or by phone at 703-779-8510.

ICAS negotiated with the Paris Las Vegas Hotel to offer sleeping rooms to ICAS Convention delegates at the heavily discounted rate of $117 per night, cheaper even than our rate last year at the Rio. Paris has set up a special website for ICAS members to reserve a sleeping room during the convention. Click here to make your reservation or call the Paris toll free number at 888-266-5687.

© International Council of Air Shows, Inc.
750 Miller Drive, Suite F-3
Leesburg, Virginia 20175
Phone: 703-779-8510

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