Page 8 - World Airshow May-Jun 2017
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GREG KOONTZ: FROM THE ACE




                                            It’s Difficult






                               G      oing to an airshow as a per-  tion, FAA, DOT, publications, ACE/Safety committees, etc. Sure,
                                                                 ICAS is helpful, but their staff is focused more on the conven-
                                      former would seem like a
                                                               most of us already have plenty to do and very little help to get it
                                      simple  and  straightforward
                                      endeavor. You go to the
                                                               gue that the shows only have one event to be concerned about,
                              show, attend the briefing, service the   done, but that can be said about the airshows too. You might ar-
                              aircraft, fly your act, service the air-  and performers have many, but therein lies the point. Airshows
                              plane again, and go home. It’s a matter   are very often run on an ever-changing flow of volunteers headed
                              of being on-time, polite, entertaining   up by the over-worked few. The guy who is working smoke oil
                              and safe. What could be easier than   who calls you about type and quantity could be new. He has no
                              that?                            clue that three other people have already asked this question, nor
                                 Actually, the  process  starts  many   does he necessarily know that you might put the information on
                              months  in  advance.  You’re  ap-  a website. After 32 years of performing, I can say that all our ad-
                              proached by a show to possibly be   vances in technology seems to have only increased the confusion.
                              on their schedule. From there, a long   I believe it is this confusion that causes a lot of the tension be-
                              process begins that starts with nego-  tween airshows and the performers. Right from the start, a show
         tiating price, moves on to getting promotional material into the   considering hiring a performer looks at the performer’s reputa-
         right hands, then to your needs like motels, cars, fuel, oil, and   tion for being cooperative. We sometimes feel like we are walking
         hangar – things that the show needs to know to be prepared. Fi-  on eggs trying to be easy to deal with. And that’s not easy itself.
         nally, discussion must be had concerning media flights, inter-  I wish I only flew an aerobatic plane and arrived at the show by
         views, local appearances, and sponsors. Now consider being a   myself to fly my act and go home. Nope, I do a novelty act that
         full-time performer and dealing with all of this yourself for 20+   requires three of us to perform. I need more rooms, a place to
         separate airshows each year!                                         assemble the Cub, a place to store our trailer
           So, you’re thinking, why don’t you just   THINKING YOU DON’T       and truck, and a large crew car. I need volun-
         put all your requirements on your website   GET PAID ENOUGH? THE     teers to hold the ribbon cut poles. I need to
         and let them scoop it up at their conve-                             drive a vehicle around to go out to set up the
         nience? Well, I do. I even put most of it in   AIRSHOW VOLUNTEER     ribbon, move two airplanes, and examine my
         my contract just so it is easy to find. But I   CHAIRMAN PROBABLY    route for my comedy take-off across the grass.
         get emails and calls from the event chair-  GOT PAID NOTHING.        Most all of this is pretty easy, but with all the
         person, media chairperson, service pro-                              confusion and tension, it is amazing how
         vider, airboss, and risk manager. They not only want information   quickly we could be considered “difficult”.
         they would need for their own department, but they also usually   My advice to fellow performers, especially those getting start-
         want a repeat of everything else. This often comes in as a survey   ed, is to go to the shows prepared. Ask for as little as possible, and
         to fill out that re-asks most questions already answered to some-  bring with you as much as you can. Like my situation, what you
         one else.                                             need might not sound like much, but to those working in high
           It probably sounds like I’m blaming the airshow for the com-  gear to pull their show together, stopping to take care of you is,
         plexity. But really, I think the performers should show the initia-  well, one more thing. When asked to squeeze in an extra ride or
         tive. You might be thinking you don’t get paid enough, but you   get up early for a radio interview say, “sure, no problem.” When
         better remember the airshow volunteer chairman probably got   they send you a three-page form asking for information you’ve
         paid nothing. They are not thinking about your overhead when   already sent, be the first person to return it filled out in full. And,
         they write that check. They just know you got paid.   last but not least, do what my performer friend Mark Sorenson
           ICAS provides a central place for everyone to put their me-  says do, and leave the crew car where they said to leave it and
         dia kit and service manual, but after a short look on their web-  leave it looking nice. It’s the last impression you’ll make during
         site, I found most of us have not taken advantage (me included).   the whole weekend. Don’t blow it!
         My website is already plenty for me to keep up, so I hope that is
         where they will go for my information. But that does not excuse   Greg Koontz is a full-time airshow performer and teaches basic
         the problem. The real problem is that, as an industry, we don’t   aerobatics at his Flight School/Bed & Breakfast called Sky Coun-
         have much of a standard operating procedure. The shows don’t   try Lodge. Greg is a former chairman of the ICAS ACE Commit-
         necessarily know that what they need is just a URL away, and with   tee, holds an unlimited aerobatic waiver, and has been designated a
         everyone’s website set up completely different, they could spend a   Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatics by the National Asso-
         huge amount of time muddling through drop-down menus try-  ciation of Flight Instructors. Please send your comments/questions
         ing to navigate to what they need.                    to Greg@GKairshows.com





                                          WORLD AIRSHOW NEWS   8  MAY/JUNE 2017
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