What We’re Looking Forward to in 2019

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The new F-35 Demo Team is one of the many highly anticipated additions to the 2019 air show season.

For anyone who has worked in the industry a while, it’s no secret that a successful ICAS Convention can be a springboard to a successful air show season. Fifteen hundred ICAS members attended last year; the highest numbers since pre-sequestration 2006. From the military making such a strong showing to an increased variety and scale of our trade show, we wanted to highlight that. We checked in with people from across the ICAS membership to see what they were looking forward to in 2019.

Jeff Lee, Live Airshow TV:

“It was a great ICAS. We’re excited about the number of people who found us there who are now understanding how important video is to their market and fanbase. We’re going to try and build on that by trying some new things this year to attract a younger audience.”

Maciej Hatta, Match Productions:

“In 2019, I’m excited for Oshkosh. When I was on the Snowbirds, we would take turns who would get show pilot duties for each show and I jumped on the chance to do it when we flew there in 2016. Even though it’s a lot of work, I wanted to know the ins and outs. This year, I’ll see it from a support vantage and that’s exciting. I’ll be making videos, not only to show people who are unable to make it what they’re missing, but also reach people who didn’t even know they wanted to be there. My goal is to catch the attention of a whole new generation and show them some awe.”

Scott “Scooter” Yoak, Quicksilver P51 Mustang Airshows:

“Everything is coming together in 2019. This is the year I will really bridge the gap between my fitness side and my air show side — getting people excited about high-performance living and high-performance flying. Those different audiences coming together makes me excited. That, and after this last ICAS, half of my schedule is at places I haven’t flown before, so it’s shaping up to be a very good 2019.”

Jadene Mah, Gear Up Productions:

“After ICAS I realized 2019 is a great year to pivot my business because everyone is trying to grow what they do and reach more people. I’ve been at this for 13 years and have done everything from producing my own show, running air ops and ramp operations, handling marketing for one of the largest shows in North America, crisis communications, you name it. Someone told me I’m the Olivia Pope of air shows and it made me laugh [in the show Scandal, Pope is a Washington, D.C. political crisis manager]. So, I want to spend more time this year doing just that; fixing problems at air shows.”

Barry Hancock, Pilot Maker Airshows:

“This ICAS was one of my best ever. I had a lot more activity and conversations than I’ve had in the past. My goal for 2019 is to bring 21st century technology to World War II-era flying. We’re using virtual reality and live streaming at shows. This is our way to make sure WWII does not fade into the past and connect millennials to a really important period in our history.”

Brian Norris, Norris Aeroworks Announcing:

“We’re expanding this season. We usually go to ICAS just to see our friends and air show family, but this year we went in an official capacity with Norris Aeroworks Announcing. I took the advice that I’ve given others over the years, especially performers: “Just go slow. Don’t think you’re going to set the world on fire.” And we got some bookings! I’m also happy for my wife, Devan, who is working toward getting her air boss certification, so it’s a pretty exciting time.”

Jim Gibson, Jim Gibson Air Boss:

“This is myninth year I’ve gone to ICAS. This year I had more booth traffic than any other year. It’s probably a combination of a few things, but I started working on classes and seminars and helping evaluate for the Air Boss Recognition Program. Being more involved in the industry overall has helped.”

Natasha Avey, Wings Over Houston:

“We’re looking forward to our lineup in 2019. We can’t ask for more. We have the Snowbirds, the Thunderbirds, and the F-35 demo. When the F-35 started showing up on the scene for the Heritage Flight, immediately our fans started asking when they would see more. They wanted to know what it could do. We announced we had the demo shortly after we heard at ICAS, and, my goodness, the response has been incredible. Everyone is so excited. And for us, knowing we had the F-35 on the first morning of the first day just made our entire ICAS go smoother.”

Capt. Michelle “MACE” Curran, Thunderbird Opposing Solo:

“The flying will be amazing, and the solo profile is so fun to do. But I realize that 2019 for me is all about the interactions with people, especially kids. Ever since the Super Bowl, the messages I get from teenage girls and moms of little girls are pretty amazing and I’m looking forward to more of that than any particular show or maneuver.”

Scott Howard, Red Frog and Airshow Majors:

“I think 2019 is all about growth for us as a company. We’re expanding to two more show sites with the Reno Air Races and Thunder Over Michigan, but if you were to ask me personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the pure awe in kids’ faces. Air shows are a full sensory experience, and I think we can really help turn that into a family tradition that will hopefully become one for those kids and even their own children one day.”

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Stephanie Stricklen
Steph Stricklen is an aspiring pilot, Emmy-award winning television news anchor, digital content creator and aviation writer based in Portland, Oregon.