Ensuring Safety on the Hot Ramp

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Many of air shows open up the hot ramp area for spectators at the beginning of the air show before the flying activities take place. The big question: how do you then sterilize the hot ramp when it comes time to start the actual flying? 

One method: cordon off the entire hot ramp area except for a small entrance gate at the end facing where the general public will be. Station a security guard at the gate to allow the public into the hot ramp area. Post signs at the entrance point that clearly state when the hot ramp will close, that all non-essential personnel must exit at the pre-determined time, and that there is no smoking in the hot ramp area. Have at least one uniformed officer roaming the hot ramp area while it is open to enforce rules that your show has established. In particular, this roaming security officer should be on the lookout for people touching or climbing on aircraft. 

Approximately one hour before the first act, start clearing the hot ramp. This will give your performers the thirty minutes of undisturbed time they need to focus on their upcoming performance. This can be accomplished by having security personnel begin clearing the crowd starting from the point furthest from the entrance/exit gate and moving in a line towards the gate. Uniformed police or military personnel in uniform are key here because the public responds much better to a person in uniform.  

Several individuals stretched out in a line moving towards the gate telling the public that the hot ramp is closing works best. This line of people should drive people toward the exit. If you do not have the manpower to create a line of people, you can use a rope stretched out between a few people to guide the crowd to the hot ramp exit. 

Once you have cleared the crowd, conduct one last sweep to check for stragglers. Then conduct a FOD walk of the hot ramp area to make sure the area is clear of litter and debris. Now, you’re ready to start engines and begin the flying portion of the air show.

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.