Commemorative Air Force Blogs

Welcome to the Commemorative Air Force Blogs. A great way to stay informed about what is going on with the CAF.



(Reprinted with permission)

Volume 9, Number 1, March 18, 2016

by Dan Hallowell


Emergency extraction cards are to the air show industry as Twitter and Facebook are to the social media: everyone is doing it and if you’re not, you’re going to be left behind. 

Over the past three years, putting the most efficient egress information into the hands of the first responders has gone from a poorly publicized project to a widely praised professional tool that the FAA is looking to require for all air shows. There is confusion in the field as to how this tool works, so let’s all get on the same page.

Six weeks from the first day of an ICAS member air show, the ICAS database goes into the ICAS Air Show Calendar to find all performers listed for a particular air show. Our custom software combines all of the available extraction information for those performers into a single PDF file.  That file is then sent six weeks, four weeks, two weeks and one week from the show date to the email address for the person listed in the ICAS database as the air show’s primary point of contact. ICAS requests and expects that primary contact point to pass this extraction information along to the appropriate operations person for the event.

In order to insure the most accurate information, it is critical that both event organizers and performers do their part to maximize the chance for success.  Air show organizers must confirm that the list of performers on the ICAS Air Show Calendar is complete and accurate.  Leaving off one performer may result in that performer’s information being left out of your show’s packet.  Performers must make sure that they are listed on the ICAS Air Show Calendar and that their emergency extraction information is loaded onto the ICAS website.  A performer can add, edit or simply confirm their extraction information by hitting the “edit” button on their organization profile page on the ICAS website. 

Please contact Dan Hollowell at with any questions.


Although we have had a few shows so far this year, the 2016 North American air show season begins in earnest this month as the two U.S. military jet teams perform at their first shows in El Centro, Tucson, Tampa and Los Angeles County.

All indications point to an especially strong year. The U.S. military is fully engaged. Ticket prices are up. Enthusiasm is high. And our entire industry is poised to finish the process of shaking off the negative impact of sequestration in 2013 and 2014.

Whether you are an event organizer or a performer, ICAS encourages you to help make your contribution to a successful year by deciding, right now, that this is a year when you will put safety first. Before the season is fully underway, commit yourself to making the safe decision anytime and every time that you find yourself with a choice between doing something safely and doing it less safely.

If you’re an event organizer and you find yourself wrestling with low ceilings and marginal weather conditions, decide right now – weeks or even months ahead of time – which you will make the safe decision.

If you are a pilot who is fighting the flu or a nagging mechanical problem with your plane, decide today – as your season is just getting started – that you will make safety your #1 priority.

Of course, making the simple decision to be safe is not always enough to stay safe. But just as often, it is. So, while the temperature is still cold and nearly the entire 2016 season lies ahead of us, decide right now that you won’t take unnecessary chances, that you’ll identify risks and mitigate them as best you can, and that you will always opt for the safer alternative, whether you have several days or less than a second to make that decision.


As the air show season begins to spool up, performers across the country are knocking off the proverbial and literal rust.  The spring thaw has many pilots curing their cabin fever with a healthy dose of 100LL.  While performers satisfy their engines with a fresh batch of oil, it is important that we all follow that lead and look to the aspects of our involvement in the air show industry that need some extra attention to return to mid-season form.

Performers:  Consider G tolerance. Some pilots have not flown in upwards of four months, but their minds are still familiar with the execution of maneuvers. This can be a dangerous combination. A pilot who hasn’t practiced in a few months will easily remember how to execute the maneuvers of the show, but the pilot’s G tolerance will be significantly lower than it was, due to the lack of conditioning. The biggest mistake you can make is to forget how physically demanding the high G environment is on your body. The solution: practice often, but start slow.

Few things grease the gears better than practice.  Practice is the WD-40 of an air show performance.  It should be applied liberally and often, especially during the conditioning phase of the season.  Remember that the ground doesn’t make a distinction between a practice and a show.  When practicing, you should be positive beyond equivocation that you can perform any and all maneuvers AT ALTITUDE prior to practicing your maneuvers at show level…even if they are maneuvers that you have been performing at low altitude for many years.


Last year, ICAS published a pair of documents aimed at providing a wealth of information in a variety of formats for both rookies working to begin their careers as air show performers and veterans eager to improve and better understand their craft. 

They are ideal documents for performers to review as part of the shaking-off-the-cobwebs process.

Copies of Air Show Performers Safety Manual and Voices of Experience:  Air Show Veterans on Flying Low-Level Aerobatics have been sent to all holders of Statement of Aerobatic Competency (SAC) card holders, but -- to ensure a wider distribution of this information and because non-performer members might have an interest in this material -- ICAS is making these two documents available to all ICAS members. 

They are both intended to be organic documents that are revised, expanded and improved regularly. So, if you have suggestions for improvements, please don’t hesitate to pass them along for possible inclusion in the next revision of either document.


Ops Bull is the YOUR ICAS Operations Bulletin. We use your ideas, your contributions, and your experiences to generate operations- and safety-related articles to keep safety and operations issues at top of mind awareness throughout the air show season.  Now in its ninth year of publication, Ops Bull is only as good as the ideas, contributions and experiences you are willing to share with your air show colleagues.

So, if you’ve got an idea, don’t hesitate to pass it along.

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Phone: 703-779-8510
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