The First in a Three Part 'ICAS Conversation' for 2009, starts
off a series of interwoven interviews in which we asked about a
dozen airshow professionals the same three questions... each of
which will become the topic of its own program over the next three
days. In this installment we asked a number of airshow luminaries
the following question... with the constant bad news we have to
deal with each and every day in terms of the ailing economy, do you
see this affecting your airshow business?
In the next two parts, we'll address the airshow industry's
efforts (in 2008-09) to increase its safety consciousness and the
individual performers and acts that provided inspiration to today's
Produced at the 2008 ICAS Convention just before the end of the
year, we were pleased to be able to tackle such important subjects
as the industry made ready to start another year... and were
impressed (as usual) to see that the industry continues to make
progress on a number of fronts -- especially in terms of
ICAS tells us that Airshows draw large numbers of
demographically attractive spectators - a well-educated, affluent
group of men, women and children of all ages. More than 70 percent
of the audience at an air show has had some college education.
Three quarters report household income of $35,000 or more. The
average spectator is just under 39 years of age, but more than 53
percent of spectators are between 30 and 50.
Safety has always been a major airshow concern but a series of
unrelated accidents, in the 2007 airshow season, to too many
performers brought the topic to the forefront of discussion at most
ICAS or airshow-related get-togethers. ICAS notes that Airshows
offer a consistently and historically safe environment for millions
of spectators each year. Since current rules were implemented
nearly 50 years ago, there has not been a single spectator fatality
at a North American show – an enviable safety record for any
business. But... they're not satisfied to leave it that. A 'small
working group' of ICAS members met last year in Dallas to begin
work on a new Safety Management System for the air show industry
that was to serve as an important tool in improving air show
safety. Using existing safety management systems as models, ICAS
members discussed the changes and accommodations needed to
effectively adapt the work already done in other segments of the
aviation industry to the particular needs and circumstances of the
air show community.
So far, it seems that the efforts are succeeding.
Conceived as part of the larger ICAS initiative to change the
culture of air show safety, the product of this effort is intended
to document processes and procedures that our industry can use to
manage risk, report incidents and accidents, participate more
actively in accident investigations, identify trends, communicate
the results of these investigations to members, and reduce the
number of accidents in the air show community.