Page 8 - World Airshow News Autumn 2021
P. 8


                                        The Grand Finale

                                T   he  2021  airshow  season  is   to pay for it all? If being an airshow performer was just another
                                    winding down as the trees start
                                                                 way to make a buck, I guess I would have an attitude like that.
                                    to turn colors and the grass on
                                                                 But it’s not.
                                    my runway gives up its vibrant   When I was very young, I worked very hard. Making some
                               green to turn a dull winter brown.   money was just a necessity. How I made it was not much of a
                               The shows that choose this time of   choice. I was willing to work hard, but I had very little of any
                               year are not sure if their fans are go-  skill to offer. So, making money was a matter of doing whatever it
                               ing to be hunting for shade or their   takes. There’s not much glamor in clearing fields five days a week
                               jackets. The winds will blow a little   and flipping burgers six nights. It made me money, and money
                               harder, and the cooler air will bring   got me flying lessons, and flying lessons got me better work. Do-
                               a boost of performance to the lower   ing my first airshow at age 20 was not only the fulfilment of my
                               horsepower planes. I look forward to   life-long dream, it was also redemption from hard labor to living
                               the relief from the heat, but I’m not   the life.
                               too keen on doing the comedy act in   And living the life I do. The ICAS Convention isn’t a business
                               an open Cub on a 60-degree day. Like   requirement I have to fulfill. Sure, it’s about business, but it’s a
          riding my motorcycle, it doesn’t seem to be all that cold until you   business I love. I sit in that booth talking airshows and visiting
          hit 60 mph!                                            friends. I sit in that booth and, every now and then, I remember
            The fresh cool air of October brings that seemingly frantic   what it was like to work in the hot sun building a fence all sum-
          rush to enjoy the outdoors while you still can. It is always my   mer. I sit there among my friends and remember what a privilege

          busiest month. Airshows are pack ed into October like passengers   it is to be who I dreamed of being in an industry I once admired

          on a Southwest flight. October is also when everyone wants to   from afar, and now I’m a part of it. I don’t have to go to ICAS. I
          come to my school for an aerobatic course. My life is in an over-  get to go.
          scheduled mess while I try to accommodate the demand before   It’s all about being a part of it. I loved being on the ACE Com-
          it all sags into the wet and cold of a southern winter.   mittee. It made me a part of the industry in a place I could con-
            November relaxes the pace as the airshows dwindle down to   tribute. I also love being on the board of directors of the Southeast
          those scheduled on Veterans Day and maybe a deep south show   Council of Air Shows (SECAS). Like the other regional councils,
          or two. My aerobatic school also lightens up as Thanksgiving   SECAS offers airshow performers, vendors, and producers an
          marks the start of the holidays. The weather in Alabama starts   opportunity to meet in their own region to promote airshows.
          getting less predictable while it has trouble deciding if it is going   With an intentional focus on the Southeast (and areas close to
          to be cold or not. While the tempo of my daily schedule eases up   it), airshow professionals can get together and discover ways to
          and Thanksgiving passes by, we get one more big event, a grand   utilize the assets available closer to home. If you are an airshow
          finale, to finish off the season with a bang.          professional anywhere close to the southeast region, I think you
            The ICAS Convention! I kind of feel sorry for people who   should consider a trip to the SECAS Summit in February in Co-
          don’t go to the convention. It’s kind of like people who skip their   coa Beach, Florida. They are on-line ( and
          high school reunion – all the great people and excitement. May-  will also be at ICAS. I hope to see you there!
          be it seems like too much to get ready for, or maybe you won-
          der if it is worth it, but when you get there, you realize why you   Greg Koontz is a full-time airshow performer and teaches basic
          should be there.                                       aerobatics at his Flight School/Bed & Breakfast called Sky Country
            I have been going to ICAS for so long I don’t know how to not   Lodge. Greg is a former chairman of the ICAS ACE Committee,
          go. I guess I could take the stance that I’ve been in this business   holds an unlimited aerobatic waiver, and has been designated a
          long enough that if the show wants me, they know how to find   Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatics by the National Asso-
          me. Why should I spend my hard-earned airshow earnings to sit   ciation of Flight Instructors. Please send your comments/questions
          in a booth in a convention hall with no windows that might as   to
          well be in Siberia? How many new shows would I have to book

                                     8  Autumn 2021
   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13