Don’t Fall for Fall

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With August and September now in the rearview mirror, the air show community is preparing for the final weeks of the 2009 air show season. As the residents of Virginia, wrapped in blankets, watched the Sunday Night Football camera crew focus on a thermometer reading 106 degrees Fahrenheit, the diverse weather patterns that these months can bring became clear. Whether you live on the east coast or in the deserts of the south west, please stay aware of the dramatic shifts in weather patterns that typically accompany the coming of autumn. 

Plan your show for any and all types of weather.  Performers should consider how the changing temperature and moisture will affect their minimum altitudes and airspeeds.  Event organizers should be cautious of the volatility of the cold fronts.  It could be that those air conditioned VIP tents should have heaters.  How will you react if the temperature is 40 degrees warmer or cooler than you had planned for? 

The solution? Plan for the entire spectrum. The old mantra “Failure to plan is planning to fail,” rings true in these fall months more than almost any other time of the year. Have performers checked to see what flying a show in 45 degree weather will do to your minimums versus flying a show in 80 degree weather?  What challenges would a quarter inch of frost in the morning provide your show? What steps have you taken to account for winds that are gusting at 40 mph directly toward your crowd? 

Simply put, it is not possible to prepare too much. The variables that are presented by this season are among some of the most complicated and widely varying conditions that we see in the air show season. Do yourself a huge favor and be ready for any and all possible conditions.

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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.