Who’s on Your Team?


If you ask most air show performers who is on their team, they will mention a crew chief, ferry pilot or family member. If you then ask the same performer who else might be on their team, they will probably look at you like you were a fool. The fact is most performers are small business owners who operate with little or no staff. They do just about everything for themselves and don’t think in terms of staff or team. Our businesses don’t operate that way, but maybe they should. 

What constitutes a team? A team is any group working together to achieve a common goal. Within a good team, there is an overall goal as well as individual tasks and responsibilities. Using a baseball metaphor, the goal is to win by outscoring the opposition. Individually, each player has a job even though each play is different. When one player fails to perform as expected, chances are very good the team will lose the game. Our team is no different. 

When we are trying to book shows, performers are business competitors much like during spring training. Once we book that show and especially once we arrive at a venue, we’ve made the cut. We are part of the team whose goal is to win by safely putting on a show. 

Once you think of a team in this way, then who is on your team expands to include a myriad of additional players. The air boss, the ground boss, the fuel, oil and smoke oil folks, CFR, crew chiefs and helpers are all potential players on your team. Performers who might have been competitors are now part of the same team on air show weekend. 

Just like the baseball team, our team must pull together to win the game. Each player has a job or jobs and each needs the help of the rest of the team to win the game. When one player is in a batting slump, then the rest of the team needs to adjust to make up the difference. When one performer has a mechanical problem, the air boss may adjust the schedule while another performer may break out a tool box. When the air boss has been out in the sun for four hours, hopefully someone will bring him or her some food and water. When a performer is quick turning to a second flight, then the fuel truck should be waiting when they shut-down while someone else hands her a bottle of water as she climbs out of the aircraft.  

On a winning team, each player carries his or her load and everyone pulls together helping each other. On good teams, players will offer a hand when it is requested. On great teams, players don’t wait to be asked. Our team only wins when everyone returns home safely after successfully putting on a show. Step up to the plate. Don’t wait to be asked. Be part of a great team.

Previous articleSmoke Oil Shut Off
Next articleLessons Learned So Far in 2011: Hope for the Best butPrepare for the Worst
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.