It’s a timeless admonition that translates well in any language, including the language of air shows. In the event that a performer, event organizer or support service provider compromises the pride they take in doing their work, the results can be catastrophic.
If a performer settles for less than his very best effort during a particular performance or on an individual perfect maneuver, the fall will come. In our business, the margins for error are often so thin that a small lapse – even by a veteran – can have tragic consequences. And, sadly, this lesson has been written in the blood of some of our industry’s most talented and experienced pilot.
Similarly, even well-established shows can suffer problems and even tragedies if key individuals become too confident or casual while working in the unforgiving air show environment. Allowing activities that are unsafe, unplanned or against the established best practices and regulations will eventually result in financial, publicity or safety problems.
In fact, the proverb could be even more appropriate for the air show community with a little light editing: professionalism goeth before the fall. In other words, when we stop giving, demanding and expecting the very best of ourselves, those we work with and those we work for, the end result will always be failure. Thankfully, the inverse is also true; when we always give, expect and execute in accordance with the highest standards of excellence, the end result will always be success.