After huge air shows like Oshkosh and Sun ‘n Fun and large ones like Waterloo and Thunder Over Michigan, it was refreshing to attend the Ontario South Coast Air Show. A smaller, very friendly event where I knew all the performers and and a good number of the spectators. A lovely way to spend a Saturday.
First off, love your work! You guys and girls are the best of the best and it’s so great to see you all in the air this year. For a while there it looked like Canada’s Snowbirds were going to be the only military jet team flying in North America and even that was in doubt if you listened to the rumors at ICAS (International Council of Air Shows) meetings last year.
Can I be so bold as to make one little suggestion that would go a long way to keep the public more interested? Make your routines shorter.
I was down in Ypsilanti Michigan last weekend for Thunder Over Michigan where the USAF Thunderbirds performed. I was sitting in the paid VIP area which was probably 300 – 400 feet away from where the jets were parked and from the time that the team announcer took the microphone until we actually saw a jet on the takeoff roll was approximately 20 MINUTES!! I’ve seen the startup routine that all 3 teams perform and it’s very impressive. Trouble is that only a small part of the crowd gets to see it. For security reasons (I assume) the team is parked farther away from the crowdline now than in the past. For TOM I needed my long lens just to grab a quick picture of the whole team down at the end of the tarmac. You already have the box so no one else is performing which means the majority of the crowd is looking at a blank sky and starting to think of the traffic and the long drive home.
We live in an age of diminished attention spans and increasing prices. Joe Icecreamlicker spends a lot of money bringing all the little Icecreamlickers to the show and he wants everyone to be entertained so he can enjoy the airplanes without little Johnny whining about how bored he is and Mrs. Icecreamlicker complaining about how hot it is sitting on concrete or asphalt. Lulls are the kiss of death for air shows that are already far too long. People have come to see the jet team. Why keep them waiting?
Revamp the act, let the civilian performers keep going while you go through the important rituals. Have the announcer wait so that people don’t think the routine has started so maybe they will go get that ice cream or t-shirt and make the concession operators a little happier. Stick to what you do best. Flying. Leave the theatre to Broadway.