Thursday, July 23, 2009

ICAS Fast Facts -- July 23, 2009


Whatever the reason (and event organizers throughout North America have identified many different reasons), air show attendance continues to trend up throughout the United States and Canada as we pass the mid-way point of the 2009 air show season. >From Tacoma, Washington, Springfield, Missouri and Independence, Iowa to Dayton, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan and Pensacola, Florida, air show event organizers are reporting significant – sometimes even dramatic – increases in attendance.

“We continue to report these attendance increases as important news because the implications of the trend can be significant for those air shows that have not yet been held,” says ICAS President John Cudahy. “As an example, many of the air shows with increased attendance are also reporting horrific parking and traffic problems. For some shows, increased attendance might mean increased volunteer requirements or contingency plans for overflow parking. We want to make sure that our members are well aware of the trend so that they have plenty of time to make adjustments to their original plan, if necessary.”


ICAS has scheduled its first-ever ICAS Air Boss Academy for October 1, 2 and 3 in conjunction with the MCAS Miramar Air Show in San Diego, California. Like the traditional ICAS Academy, the new ICAS Air Boss Academy will use an actual air show to provide a small number of ICAS members with a unique opportunity to get a hands-on, practical air show education. The new ICAS Air Boss Academy will focus very specifically on the processes, customs, lingo, procedures, mannerisms and habits of safe, effective air show air bosses.

Moderated by ICAS member and contract air boss Wayne Boggs, the new program will begin on the evening of Thursday, October 1 with an informal welcome reception. On Friday morning, participants will attend the pre-show performer safety briefing. After some classroom discussions and instruction, the entire class will move out to the flight line where they will monitor the air show radio frequency and discuss the details related to air bossing this particular air show. As one of the most experienced air bosses in our business, Boggs will explain what the Miramar air boss does and why he does it that way. At the end of the first day, the group will return to the classroom to de-brief and discuss the day’s activities. On Saturday, the group will sit in on the performer safety de-brief and once again listen in as the air boss orchestrates one of North America’s finest air shows. The official program concludes on Saturday night.

Class size for this first ICAS Air Boss Academy will be strictly limited to 15 participants. The fee to participate in this unique educational program is $265 per individual. Registrations received without payment will not be considered. And because ICAS expects an overwhelming response to this program and because we will cut off registration once the 15 person limit is reached, there will be no refunds on registration. The Embassy Suites San Diego - La Jolla in San Diego, California (phone 858-453-0400) will serve as our host hotel and will provide hotel sleeping rooms at the discounted rate of $137 per night.

Because the program is so new that we have not yet developed a registration form and so small that space is extremely limited, ICAS will accept e-mail messages with the required information and payment to reserve a space in the class. This information should include name, organization, street address, city, state/province, zip/postal code, phone number, e-mail address, credit card number, expiration date, and shirt size. Academy registrations will be accepted on a first-come/first-served basis. All class participants will be expected to provide their own hand-held radio and headset.


July 31 is the deadline for two different air show-related issues: 1) submission of your DD Form 2535 to request the participation of the Blue Angels and/or Thunderbirds at your 2010 air show; and 2) the deadline for sending your "early bird" registrations for the 2009 ICAS Convention in Las Vegas and taking advantage of the significant "early bird" registration discount. Additional details on these two deadlines appear below.


Event organizers requesting the participation of the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels at their air shows during the 2010 season must submit their DD Form 2535 not later than July 31to be considered by either team.

Applicants are encouraged to use the most current version of DD Form 2535 published in August of 2007. Follow the directions on the last page of the form. And please be advised that the submission processes for the Navy and Air Force differ significantly from one another.

In addition, this year, event organizers interested in hosting the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in 2011 are encouraged to submit a separate DD Form 2535 for both 2010 and 2011. ICAS is recommending a two-step process to ensure that the Navy knows which years you are interested in hosting the team. When you finish completing DD Form 2535, make two copies of the completed form. Using a thin magic marker, write “For 2010” across the top of all four pages of one form. Write “For 2011” across the top of all four pages of the second form. Send both forms – a total of eight pages -- to the Navy using the directions on the last page of the form. Then, scan the 2010 DD Form 2535 and the 2011 DD Form 2535 as two different low resolution pdf documents. Send them to Blue Angels Event Coordinator Lieutenant Amy Tomlinson by e-mail at


You can save as much as $85 (as compared to the on-site registration fee) if you register for the ICAS Convention on or before July 31. That's a 19 percent savings and, we hope, enough to encourage you to register before the end of this month.

“Times are tough and we’re doing everything we can to make this year’s ICAS Convention affordable,” said ICAS President John Cudahy. “Registration fees haven't gone up for 2009 and the hotel sleeping room rates have actually gone down. More than that, though, the ICAS Convention is designed to help you uncover new ways of running your air show business, the kinds of ideas that will help you save money or make even more. It doesn't cost to go to the ICAS Convention; it pays.”

ICAS has a new, even-more user friendly on-line registration tool. To register today and get the very lowest possible rate, click here.


By John Cudahy, ICAS President

As we move past the midway point of the 2009 air show season and start thinking about the 2009 ICAS Convention (December 6-9 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel), I wanted to talk about the single biggest topic in the meeting industry today: room blocks and attrition. And, in particular, the impact that these issues could have on YOUR organization.

As most of you know, the ICAS Convention requires a lot of meeting space. Our exhibit hall, our general session/banquet room, and the rooms we use for individual break-out education sessions will typically add up to well over 100,000 square feet of space. In order for ICAS to get the meeting space we need without moving the entire event to a large and expensive stand-alone convention center, ICAS must commit to substantial blocks of sleeping rooms at a large hotel like Paris. Hotel managers allocate meeting space to groups like ours based on the percentage of sleeping rooms that we use in the hotel on a day-by-day basis. Hotels will not just sell the meeting space without a room block commitment as meeting space is used as an enticement to sell sleeping rooms to other groups.

A hotel’s primary commodity is “sleeping rooms.” To protect the value of the rooms that have been taken off of the market and set aside for a group/event, hotel managers typically include a clause in their contract that provides monetary damages if the event's attendees occupy fewer rooms than agreed upon. This slippage by the group is referred to as attrition. Damages from attrition are usually determined based on the lost revenue to the hotel from the unused sleeping rooms and can run into many tens of thousands of dollars.

Over the years, ICAS has negotiated and signed dozens of hotel contracts for ICAS Conventions and the attrition clauses were never a problem. Indeed, our past history of sleeping room usage made us highly desirable to prospective host hotels. But with the advent of internet and the recent economic downturn, the entire meetings industry has had much more difficulty trying to fill our room blocks. In fact, the problem has become so significant within the meetings industry that task forces have been developed for the sole purpose of identifying possible solutions to this widespread problem. And that problem has begun to affect ICAS.

Some of the solutions being used by the industry include not being able to register until you book a room in an official group hotel; offering discounts to members who both register for the convention and reserve a room in the host hotel; charging an additional fee beyond the registration fee to convention delegates who do not stay at the host hotel, or offering incentives and premiums to those attendees who book within the block of rooms reserved by ICAS.

At this year’s ICAS Convention, we will have a drawing and give away a flat screen television to one lucky convention delegate. To qualify, you only need to be listed as having reserved a room in the block of sleeping rooms reserved by ICAS at the Paris Hotel. In the future, however, ICAS may be forced to take more dramatic steps to minimize attrition and avoid the potentially significant penalties.

Most of all, we want to educate members and help them understand the impact that attrition could have on our convention and our organization. It’s never been a problem in the past, so we’ve never felt obligated to explain this aspect of the business, but times are changing. Booking within the ICAS room block will help us get the meeting space we need to conduct the convention, meet our obligation to the host hotel, avoid hefty attrition fees, and keep the registration fees down. Thanks in advance for your help in helping us meet this considerable challenge.


To help its members prepare for December’s 2009 convention in Las Vegas, ICAS has released a preliminary list of topics that will be covered during the concurrent educational programming scheduled for December 6, 7, 8 and 9 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel.

Issues to be addressed will include easy-to-implement cost cutting ideas, website development, using “new media” to market your event, breaking into the air show business as a newcomer, an update on the initiative to change the culture of air show safety, making more effective use of military air shows as a community relations tool, planning and executing a media ride program, building an entertaining and balanced air show, developing and maintaining flight line safety, security and emergency preparedness for civilian shows, security and emergency preparedness for military shows, small show fundraising, lessons learned by air show accident survivors, physiology of air show flying, practical and easy-to-implement public relations and marketing ideas, conducting an economic impact study for your air show, developing a crisis management media strategy and plan, key issues affecting air show profitability, parking and traffic, negotiating contracts, marketing your air show act to prospective event organizers, advanced concepts and tactics in sponsorship acquisition and activation, how to build and position your aerobatic box, how to get the most out of television, radio and newspaper interviews, and how to work with the U.S. military as a performer or vendor. More specific details on specific sessions and speakers will be available later this summer.


Well-positioned booths on the trade show floor at the 2009 ICAS Convention are still available. But experience tells us that the very best booths will be scooped up during the next several weeks. If you have not yet reserved your booth, click here to get detailed information on the cost and location of available booths. You can also call (703-779-8510) or e-mail ( Karen Connors at ICAS headquarters to reserve your booth on the exhibit floor at the world’s largest air show industry business meeting.


During a practice flight on Monday, July 20 near the Chilean city of Santiago, Lieutenant Eduardo Varas de la Fuente with the Chilean Air Force’s Falcons military formation team was involved in an accident while flying his Extra 300 L aircraft. The unconscious pilot was pulled from the wreckage by volunteer firefighters and transported by helicopter to a local hospital. Details on the causes of the crash or the pilot’s condition are not yet available.


On Sunday, July 12, an unidentified air show pilot was involved in an accident while flying at an air show in the German city of Grossostheim in his Pitts Special. After performing multiple snap rolls on a steep downline, the pilot failed to recover at a sufficient altitude to avoid hitting a parked car containing two occupants. The pilot and the two occupants in the automobile received minor injuries. None of the three suffered injuries serious enough to require a trip to the hospital.


In accordance with Section 9, Paragraph B of the ICAS By-laws, ICAS Nominating Committee Chairman Jim Peitz requests that any member wishing to submit his or her name for consideration as a possible candidate for the ICAS Board of Directors forward a resume and short note stating why they wish to be a member of the ICAS Board of Directors to him by e-mail to or by mail to ICAS Nominating Committee, c/o ICAS headquarters, 750 Miller Drive SE, Suite F-3, Leesburg, Virginia 20175.

Peitz is serving as chairman of an ICAS Nominating Committee that also includes Harry Wardwell of the California International Air Show; Charles Hutchins of Tora Tora Tora and the Wings over Houston Air Show; Colonel Larry Gallogly of the Rhode Island National Guard Air Show; and Michael Goulian of Goulian Aerosports.

In accordance with Section 9(A) and Section 9(B)(1) of the ICAS bylaws, the Nominating Committee will review the needs of ICAS and the experience and qualifications of prospective nominees and announce a slate of nominees later this summer. In accordance with Section 9(B)(2), members may have their name added to the ballot by using the petition process explained in the ICAS bylaws.


Many thanks to our 2009 ICAS Convention sponsors: Air Boss & Consulting, Inc., Cirrus Design & Patty Wagstaff Airshows, Julie Clark’s Chevron Mentor T-34, John Klatt & Air National Guard, Team Chaos, Insurance Technologies & Programs, Eddie Andreini Airshows, CAF/Tora Tora Tora, AirSupport, LLC, Shannon & Luchs Insurance Agency, Aeroshell, AirBoss, Inc., Jim Peitz Aerosports, Jacquie ‘B’ Airshows, Aerostars, Team Rocket, Gordon Bowman-Jones, ValleyWide Communications, Rob Reider and OnBoard Images.

For information on how your organization might become a sponsor of the 2009 ICAS Convention, contact ICAS headquarters by phone at 703-779-8510 or by e-mail at

© International Council of Air Shows, Inc.

750 Miller Drive SE, Suite F-3

Leesburg, Virginia 20175

Phone: 703-779-8510



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