Eleven Safety Habits of Highly Effective Air Shows

  • Identify one person as your show’s safety officer or safety “czar.” Empower him/her to take necessary steps to mitigate any and all safety hazards.
  • Put your safety policies, procedures and expectations in writing. Then change and add to that document as you and your team learn more about where the safety hazards are and what you can do to mitigate those risks.
  • Make sure that all of your volunteers – ALL OF YOUR VOLUNTEERS! — understand that they are encouraged and empowered to help identify and eliminate safety hazards.
  • Develop and maintain a safety plan that is different from your emergency response plan. Your safety plan is proactive and attempts to mitigate safety hazards before they become a problem. Your emergency response is reactive and is specifically designed as a response to various types of emergencies. Every show needs both.
  • Ensure that all tents, generators, air conditioning units and other heavy equipment have been tied down securely enough to withstand violent winds…even if you don’t anticipate violent winds.
  • Eliminate, fence off or clearly identify all possible tripping hazards, including tent stakes, electrical cords, tie down ropes and gopher holes.
  • Minimize the number of golf carts used by your show. Enforce a strict “18 and over” age limitation on golf cart drivers. And require anybody using a golf cart to receive a safety brief and sign an agreement that requires them to operate the vehicle according to strict limitations.
  • Minimize the number of ramp passes you distribute. Not everybody has to be in front of the crowd line. Limiting the number of people on the operational side of the fence will significantly reduce your exposure to safety hazards.
  • Require that anybody involved with moving or positioning aircraft has the proper training and/or experience to ensure that it is done safely and properly.
  • Ensure that spectators are not permitted in an area with props turning unless that area is cleared of spectators prior to engines starting.
  • Plan and conduct a comprehensive safety debrief at the conclusion of your show to identify safety hazards and recommend changes to eliminate them at your next 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.