Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Airspeed Update: Behind the Scenes at Airshows, Acro Camp, A Pilot's Story, and Team Tuskegee

Updates about upcoming Airspeed coverage, the Acro Camp film, other film projects, and Team Tuskegee.
Visit the Airspeed website at  www.airspeedonline.com.
Visit the Acro Camp website at www.acrocamp.com.
Check out a classic Airspeed episode like Making Good on a Deal.
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Welcome to the first Airspeed Update of 2013!  2012 was a big year.  Huge, in fact!  And Airspeed has been aggressively gearing up for 2013.  Here's a quick update to let you know about some projects in process.
Behind the Scenes at Airshows – Episodes Coming Soon!

Airspeed set out last year to do a series from behind the scenes at airshows.  Climbing over the airshow fence and actually getting into the box to give you an insider's perspective on what it takes to put on one of our favorite forms of entertainment.

In March, Steve went to the TICO Valiant Air Command Airshow in Titusville, Florida and spent parts of three days as ramp crew for Mark Sorenson's Tiger Airshows and The Ringmasters.  Everything from wiping down the aircraft to heading out to show center with the pyro crew and helping to make those big smoke rings through which Mark flies.  And, yeah, Steve had to put out the airport several times when it caught fire.  It you though he looked funny running already, you should see him run with a large water-based fire extinguisher in tow.  Later, in April, Steve crewed and played video guy for Paul Wood, who brought the Warbird Heritage Foundation's A-4 Skyhawk to Thunder Over Louisville.
In June and July, Steve returned to the Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow and Balloon Festival for the seventh year, this time arriving in formation as pilot of one of the three USAFA-surplus TG-7A motorgliders of the Tuskegee Airmen Flight Demo Team.  Steve's Battle Creek coverage centered around being the team narrator for the weekend, as well as ferry pilot, videographer, and crew dog.

Then, things got entirely out of hand.  A mere two days after completing his commercial glider checkride, Team Tuskegee asked Steve to join the team as a demo pilot.  He flew shows at Rogers City, Michigan and Scott Air Force Base near St. Louis as Tuskegee 3, breaking out of the figure-eight to perform 180-aborts ("the impossible turn") back and forth in front of the crowd while 1 and 2 gaggle-climbed up in the Tuskegee Tornado to return engine-off.

We're putting together a whole series on the airshow experience and you can expect to hear it soon in the Airspeed feed.
Acro Camp Progresses

The first Acro Camp film is nearing completion!  Believe it when you actually sit down with a bucket of popcorn, but there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Will Hawkins is fond of saying something to the effect that "the movie's done, it's just 40 hours long."  We don't know who said, "it's 80% finished, all we need to do is get the other 80% done," but that captures it equally well.

All 41 sorties and all ground footage is logged, the entire soundtrack is complete, and all eight airshow performer cameos are edited and ready to go.  A rough cut of the ground school (including the parachute inspection) is done.  The process is largely in storyboard mode now, with figuring out what goes in, where it goes, and how best to punch it up with the piles of great music that we've amassed.  In parallel with that, we're writing narration to make it all hang together.

We'll be out with a release date as soon as we're really sure of it.  The idea all along has been to eschew vapor media and only announce things that we know will happen.  We haven't taken any pre-orders or made any promises and that has taken a lot of the heat off.  We think that a better movie will come out the other end.  We know that that has meant a whole lot of silence over the last couple of years, but it also means that, when you hear stuff, it'll be a reliable indication that you'll soon have a DVD in your hands.

In the meantime, you can check out some of the sneak peeks that we've posted on Vimeo as we've edited material.

Smoke on the Weaver
With Friends Like These
A Pilot's Story Progresses Even Faster

We recently watched a full rough cut of Will Hawkins and Rico Sharqaui's film, A Pilot's Story.  It's really going to be great.  It's an aviation documentary that tells the story of the state of general aviation.  Airplanes, helicopters, balloons, you name it.  And who's in it?  It would take less time to tell you who's not in it.

Airspeed's Steve Tupper has been heavily involved with the film, contributing B-roll, original music (some of which you'll recognize from Airspeed), and writing.  And Steve (and his son, callsign FOD) even appears on screen in a few places.

Steve and Will have a bet.  Whomever gets his movie out first gets a shot of Jeramiah Weed.  Second place?  Two shots of Jerehiah Weed.
Check out trailers and other information about A Pilot's Story at www.apilotsstory.com.
Team Tuskegee Prepares for 2013 Airshow Season

Steve has been flying regularly with the Tuskegee Airmen Glider Club, a program of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum and the organization from which the Tuskegee Airmen Flight Demo Team draws its members.

Sequestration and its potential adverse effects on airshows is on everyone's lips and we're watching developments as closely as anyone.  But, in the meantime, Team Tuskegee is diligently preparing for another airshow season.

Team leads John "Outhouse" Harte and Mark "Granite" Grant have become the first two pilots ever to receive FAST cards in the glider category.  Both hold FAST wingman cards and plan to upgrade as soon as possible to FAST lead cards.  Steve has been training diligently (35 hours in formation to date) for his wingman card and at least two other Tuskegee pilots will likely be ready for checkrides when the opportunity rolls around.

Although the team performed at many airshows last year, it is in the strange position of being able to do much more outside waivered airspace than it can inside waivered airspace.  The largest single factor is that, unless team members have FAST cards, team aircraft must be separated by at least 500 feet while in the box.  Once all of the airshow team members have fast cards, the team will be able to take its show demo to the next level by flying formation passes and doing different ingresses and egresses.

In the meantime, if you live near Detroit (or fly into or out of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (KDTW)), watch the skies for a three-ship of yellow motorgliders.  The team is practicing hard so that it can bring you exciting, beautiful, and safe demos in 2013.

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