Here We Go…

The F-35 Lightning II flies in formation with the P-38 Lightning and two P-51 Mustangs during the Heritage Flight Conference at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., March 4-6, 2016. The F-35 heritage flight team from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. is the first F-35 team to participate in the Heritage Flight Program. The program features modern USAF fighter aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korean and Vietnam era aircraft in a dynamic display of our nation's air power history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Staci Miller)

As air shows are kicking off across California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida, one thing is perfectly clear:  it’s officially air show season!  It seems like an age ago that we were together at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas preparing for this moment.  It has been such a busy four months that it would have been easy to have missed some of the important highlights of the winter, so let’s get collectively on the same page by recapping the comings and goings of the off-season.

  • Revision 9 of the ICAS ACE Manual was completed, approved and put into effect.  You can read the full manual here.  This is the result of a decade of polishing, refining and fine-tuning the manual, and all air show performers would be well-served to make reading it part of their next cross country.
  • The FAA implemented new policy governing air shows in the United States.  FAA Order 8900.1, Volume 3, Chapter 6, is substantially different and more detailed than previous versions of FAA air show policy, and you should take time to familiarize yourself—no matter your role in the business.  You can read the full text here.
  • One particular issue that will be of interest to many performing pilots who were not previously required to hold a Statement of Aerobatic Competency (SAC) card is the addition of the “dynamic maneuvering” requirements to the air show policy in FAA Order 8900.1. If you fly non-aerobatic formation at air shows or if you fly solo, but non-aerobatically, ICAS urges you to read the new dynamic maneuvering policy to determine if it will impact you.
  • The phased implementation of the FAA’s new Air Boss Recognition Program began on January 1, 2019. Although air bosses will not be required to possess an actual Air Boss Letter of Authorization (LoA) until January 1, 2020, all air bosses working in that capacity at air shows in 2019 will need to demonstrate that they have initiated the process of applying for an LoA (see related story below).
  • ICAS has launched a monthly townhall series for members to help communicate changes in a real-time manner.  These townhalls are generally focused on specific issues and challenges in the air show industry to provide a more effective, targeted approach to answering questions.  Townhalls have been conducted for air show organizers, air show performers, and ICAS ACEs so far in 2019, but the format has been well received and ICAS will be expanding its use of this invaluable communications tool during the air show season. So, if you have a topic that you think would benefit the air show community, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
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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.