Weather and Knots


As summer thunderstorms continue to bring all kinds of unpredictable weather, it is important to revisit planning contingencies for your shows and supplements to you performances. It is not possible to predict the weather 90 days in advance of your show or performance, but a good plan for unfavorable conditions can save you enormous hassle.

For event organizers, it’s important to consider the “what if” a couple months in advance of your show date. Consider the possibilities of high wind, thunderstorms or tornados and have a plan in place that is ready to be executed at a moment’s notice. Making sure that all tents and equipment are secure, having a tornado watch and warning procedure and indoor/under canopy activities can mean the difference between a successful show and a rained out show.  Don’t let the weather control your show.

For performers, it’s important to consider all things weather related, and the morning brief is a great place to prepare. However, having some information and practices in high wind situations prior to the show date can help you avoid hassle from the IIC’s.  As a rule of thumb, one knot of wind can be estimated as two feet per second.  So, a 20 knot on-crowd wind will push the aircraft 400 feet in just ten seconds of a vertical maneuver such as a torque roll.  The best solution is to make sure that you account for these winds prior to entering any maneuver and moving to a position that will account for the wind.

Regardless of whether you are an event organizer or a performer, a little bit of consideration for weather and knots can go a long way.

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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.