Briefing the Briefer
touring airshow performer has been to a two-plus-hour airshow briefing that
degenerated into an egomaniac contest between some of the participants.
This type of briefing is unprofessional, unsafe but not unheard of.
In fact, some well-run briefing fail to present the necessary information
for the conduct of a safe, well controlled show.
here is an annotated rehash of the FAA’s airshow briefing procedure.
It covers the important points related to the conduct of an airshow and
can serve as the basis of an excellent show briefing.
Briefing should be conducted in a clear, concise, business like manner.
The fashion in which the Briefing is conducted will establish the tone
for all activities during the event.
a relaxed presentation is preferable, the Briefing must be thorough, covering
what is and what is not expected to occur during the Airshow.
Therefore, during the Briefing, a certain level of formality and
discipline must be observed.
the Airshow's management, the Briefing is the best tool to insure the level of
safety before, during, and after the show. During
the Brief, the show's management will discuss the actual events that should take
place; the who, what, where, when, and how of the show.
Moreover, just as importantly, management must effectively communicate
what to do when things do not go as planned.
is particularly important for the "non-professional"
participants. Most of your people
are not normally involved in airshow production. This can include pilots, the
FAA, Air Traffic Control (ATC), Security, Crash Fire and Rescue (CFR), crowd
control, and other volunteers. For
these people, the Airshow is an exceptional event.
It doesn't happen every day, therefore all of these people must be well
briefed to eliminate as many accident potentials as possible.
The "professional" airshow performers, although more in tune
with what is happening, will need to be acquainted with conditions particular to
this show, and what they are likely to encounter during the event.
Pre-Show Briefing is where all the prior planning comes together, where
all participants meet to cover all the angles, one last time, before we go out
and do it for real. This is the time
to discover problems with the performer taxi plan, or problems with smoke oil
logistics, or any of the other thousand possible problem areas.
The Briefing is the last time the Airshow's management will have a
chance to meet eye-to-eye with all the players.
It’s a lot easier to solve a problem at the Brief than after the flag
preparation for the Briefing started with the planning of the Airshow itself.
Like a good Airshow, a good Briefing does not just happen, it is planned
THE BRIEFING AGENDA
BEFORE THE START
OF THE BRIEFING.
packet of material should have been prepared and passed out to each performer as
he or she first arrives at the show site (or mailed to the performer in
packet should contain:
A reproduction to the Area and Site map/s.
A copy of the proposed show schedule.
Assigned radio frequencies.
Emergency recall signals.
A copy of the show's Disaster Plan.
Performer passes/badges (don't forget the FAA personnel).
Vehicle and ramp passes for performers cars/trucks
it is also a good idea to include in this packet:
Food/drink chits for use at the concession booths.
Local area road map.
Restaurant/Dining Facility information.
Social events schedule with maps of locations.
include information on the show's corporate sponsors so that the performers:
(1) know who the sponsors are; (2) can speak with the sponsors and media from a
knowledgeable position about the sponsor's product and/or service.
diagrams, charts and maps used during the initial Airshow site analysis and
Waiver Application should be enlarged to sufficient size for the Briefing
purposes. A large wall map of the
Airshow Area and the Airshow Site should be available for use during the
briefing. This map/s should be
marked to show the location of: airshow "show lines", control point,
fire trucks and ambulances, obstructions to flight, and any "no over fly
TIME OF THE
to three hours before the scheduled show time.
The time of the Airshow Briefing should be selected to provide ample
opportunity for morning routines, breakfast, etc., with sufficient time
following the Briefing for aircraft pre-flight and Airshow performer
indoor location should be chosen which is free from distractions, well lighted
and comfortable. Reasonable access
and space for all personnel and briefing materials is required.
Ensure that all attendees will be able to see and hear the Briefing.
Refreshments are optional, and a Restroom, with running water, is
The briefing should be conducted by persons with good to excellent
verbal communications skills. These
persons should be knowledgeable in airshow operations, FAA Regulations, local
airport and surrounding area conditions, the performance and operating
limitations of the aircraft and airman participating in the show.
walk through the Briefing process, using the agenda suggested in the following
"Airshow Briefing Checklist".
following person should attend the Briefing; some personnel may perform more
than one job function:
Traffic Control Representative
Air Operations Manager
Ground Operations Manager
Performers (Team Leaders can attend in lieu of the entire team)
Fire & Rescue (CFR)
Medical Service (
and Smoke Oil Personnel (POL)
and Crowd Control Supervisors
Traffic Control Representative.
If the show's location has an Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) or a Radar
Approach Control (RAPCON) some type of coordination must exist between that
facility and the show's management. An
ATC representative needs to be at the Briefing to ensure that any last minute
coordination problems are worked out. The
Shift Supervisor, of the shift working the Airshow, is a logical choice.
Ground and Air Operations Managers.
are the people who will be running the show.
The narrator needs to understand all aspects of the show's operation.
In this way, the narrator can better perform the informational portion of
the narrator function. It also gives
the narrator a last minute chance to meet with the Airshow performers and
gather performer information or last minute changes in routine due to weather,
obstructions, or restrictions at this particular site.
In case of an emergency, the narrator will be your prime link to the
spectators. With proper planning,
the narrator can assist in crowd control and media relations during unplanned
from the Airport or Base, who can make decisions, must be available, in
the event changes are necessary.
are the people who will be The Show.
Fire & Rescue & Emergency Medical Service Representatives.
These people need to be on top of everything from a stumped toe, to a
heart attack in the spectator area, to a major accident on or off the site.
They must be informed as to the overall plan of action in the event of
Self-explanatory. It is
contrary to FAA policy for FAA representatives to conduct the Briefing, but the
FAA Safety Monitor will ensure that all specific safety issues are covered
during the Briefing.
This is the person that signed the Waiver Application and
"owns" the air space for the Airshow.
The airshow or event chairman may NOT
be the best person to be the Waiver Holder.
The air side operations of an airshow is a full time job of show day.
Any changes to the Waiver, made by the FAA, will have to be instituted by
and Smoke Oil Personnel (POL).
It is sometimes necessary to re-fuel and re‑smoke the show
aircraft during the show. This may
have to be performed on the operational side of the crowd line and these people
will be responsible for accomplishing these tasks is a safe and effective
and Crowd Control Supervisors.
Security and Crowd Control are critical to the safe operation of the
show. Again, these are people that
must be informed as to the overall plan.
At some locations (DoD installations, etc.) there is a person who's sole
job is to ensure that safety is paramount at all times.
This person can make important input as to the safe operation of the
show. Use this resource.
Simple courtesy and it allows everyone to meet all the players.
PASSING AROUND COPY OF WAIVER:
Simultaneously with the verbal briefing, the FAA Airshow Waiver and any Special
Limitations/Provisions should be passed around to all performers for them to
review. Each performer should
acknowledge the contents by their signature on the bottom or back of the last
page. This signed copy of the waiver
should be retained by the waiver holder to certify that the performers did,
indeed, attend the briefing.
The required Notice To Airman (NOTAM) relative to the closure of the
airport and airshow area of operations must be issued by the Airport Manager or
Base Ops, at least 48 hours prior to the waived operational time.
NOTE: The NOTAM MUST be issued by the Airport Manager, not the waiver
A Weather Brief should be prepared with the latest Local Hourly Observations,
and the Local Forecast, and Forecast Winds Aloft.
This does not have to be a detailed briefing, just the information
necessary to give the participants on what to expect for the local weather
during the show period. The actual
weather MUST be at or above the minimums specified in the FAA Waiver.
& SPECIAL PROVISIONS DISCUSSION:
DO NOT read the waiver to the participants. Respect
the intelligence of your participants. Most
FAA Waivers are standard documents, the performers will scan the Waiver as it is
passed around, and ask questions if they find any areas confusing or unclear.
Simply highlight any areas of concern in the Waiver or the Special
THE WAIVER IS IN EFFECT:
Several important factors. Is there
time for the performers to practice at the site or provide media rides in
wavered airspace? How much time will
we have if there is a weather hold? Remember,
when the last event on the Waiver's Schedule of Events is completed, the Waiver
is voided. If you need to hold that
airspace, for any reason, now is the time to coordinate with the FAA Monitor
and/or ATCT and/or
The Waiver defines both the horizontal and vertical area within which the FAR's
are wavier. The performers must have
a clear picture of this area.
TO FLIGHT WITHIN THE OPERATIONAL AREA:
There are many things within the Waviered Airspace that can cause
problems for the performers. Examples:
ILS, NDB, and Communications antennas, Wind
measurement equipment, Tall towers near the show site, etc.
The performers should be briefed on the location and height of these
Within the Operational Area, there may be places that it is best to avoid due to
political or operational reasons. These
could include: schools, hospitals, churches, nursing homes, or the airport
neighbor who always is complaining about noise.
The performers will make every effort to avoid these areas if they are
informed about them.
OF SUPPORT SERVICES AND NAME OF PERSON:
During the show, the performers will need support services.
Introduce the person responsible for each service and point out where
they will be located or how the performer is to contact them.
Brief the support personnel as to which aircraft/performer will be
requiring their service and when and where they will require that service.
The performers should be provided a dedicated restroom facility,
co‑located with the performers aircraft staging area. Brief the location.
Ensure that adequate supplies of food, soft drinks, ice and water are
provided for all airshow staff, support personnel, and performers.
Brief the locations of these supplies and ensure that the support
personnel will maintain these locations with usable quantities.
The need for good communications at an Airshow is necessary to properly
manage the show. The need to be able
to communicate with the performing aircraft is essential.
The Airshow performer ground‑to‑air communications
frequencies should be a discrete, unpublished, and unlisted.
Assign radio frequencies to be used and monitored for each activity of
the Airshow. Do not over load your
freq.’s with many functions. Brief
the need for strict radio discipline, emphasize that the Airshow frequencies
must be kept clear for operational control and/or emergencies.
Blocked freq.’s and no radio/radio failure (NORDIO) procedures must be
discussed and visual signals briefed and/or demonstrated for use when necessary.
Discuss the need to keep the performer's ground-to-air
freq.’s clear. The performers
should not be subjected to any distracting radio chatter while flying their
performance. Only priority/emergency
traffic should be passed to the performers during this time.
As a provision of the Wavier, at uncontrolled airports, it will be necessary to
place X's on the runway. Brief the
location and method of placement of the X's.
Ensure that no takeoffs or lands are scheduled during the time the
support personnel are placing or removing the X's.
CONFINED TO DESIGNATED AREAS:
As a provision of the FAA Wavier, the spectators must be kept a defined distance
from the aircraft. Brief the need of
proper crowd control. Introduce the
person in charge and how they can be contracted during the show.
Brief the procedures to be used if crowd control is lost during the
aerial events. It may be necessary
to stop the show, re-gain crowd control, and re-start the show.
This is an area of special concern. The
movement of all aircraft before, during, and after the show will present several
is imperative that no aircraft, under power, taxi through the designated spectator
areas while spectators are present. The
effects of prop/jet blast property located in such areas can be devastating,
the effect of a spinning propeller on the human body is catastrophic.
Again, under no circumstances should an aircraft move through the
spectator area, if it is necessary to move aircraft within this area, it
should be towed and taxi directors and wing walkers assigned and properly
briefed to avoid endangering spectators or property.
Taxi Plan should include well planned, and clearly marked routes for use by both
static and performing aircraft. Provisions
for necessary Ground Support Equipment (power cards, fire bottles, etc.) must be
included. The plan should also
consider wheel loading requirements, FOD, and obstructions.
the Briefing, taxi routes, visual aids and markers, parking areas, run‑up
and takeoff positions must be explained and noted by all participants.
Provisions for the movement of performing aircraft from the overnight
parking areas to the Airshow staging areas must be coordinated.
The Briefing offers the opportunity to identify any special ground
operational requirements or difficulties which a performer and/or Ground
Operations Manager (GOM) may have not previously identified.
These problems can then be solved due to the presents of the necessary
VEHICLE AND AIRCRAFT PARKING:
Throughout the Airshow period, the performers will require vehicular access to
their aircraft. This includes the
period, during the show, when the aircraft are parked in the show staging
area. The performers need this
vehicular access due to the operational requirements of both the aircraft and
the Airshow routines. The need to
transport tools, equipment, removal aircraft parts, etc. make it imperative that
they be able to park their cars in close proximity to their aircraft.
the locations for vehicular ramp access, routes to and from the different
parking areas, and need for Security arrangements for use by the performers.
The Briefer should specify the procedures for all aircraft to use in the event
an aircraft operational emergency occurs during the Airshow.
Such procedures should include: radio frequencies and disciplines, flight
patterns and divert information. In
the event of radio failure, either aircraft of ground based, visual signals
should be identified to all participants for purposes of stopping the show and
requesting aircraft to land or divert. Bail
Out areas should be coordinated with the CFR personnel and identified to the
& EMS CREWS BRIEFED:
It will be necessary to ensure that all CFR and
THE EVENT OF AN INCIDENT ... MEDIA:
The Briefer should identify the spokesperson who would be responsible for ALL
INFORMATION released to the media personnel in the event of an unusual
occurrence or emergency.
AIRSHOW EVENTS SCHEDULE:
A good schedule is an aid to the presentation of a professional Airshow as
well as the safety of the event. Proper
scheduling prevents haste, misconducted operations, overlooked pre-flights
and forgotten items on a checklist.
the Briefing, the published schedule must be reviewed, checked, revised and
emphasized. The performers should be
aware of the times when the air field is open for normal traffic operations, an
when the FAA waiver is in effect. Participants
should be briefed as to the expected times for engine start, taxi, takeoff and
landing. There may be times when no
engine should be running, such as during an opening speech, invocation,
parachute jump, etc., these times need to be briefed and emphasized.
the event of schedule changes, a means of communication must be briefed to
establish to advise all participants of time changes.
This system, using radio and personal contact should provide sufficient
opportunity for the performers to adjust and prepare for their performance.
Alternate acts should be planned in the event of last minute
cancellations due to mechanical problems, performer illness, or other
limitations, for each act, must be understood by the Air Operations Manager,
Briefer, Announcer, and Performers. Procedures
and rescheduling, in the event of weather delays or other delays, must be
briefed and fully understood by all participants.
need for In-Show departures, by performers and/or other aircraft, must be
planned and coordinated. Early
Post-Show departures, by performers and/or static aircraft, will need to
be coordinated by the Air Operations Manager and Air Traffic Control.
FROM FAA REPRESENTATIVES:
The FAA Safety Monitor, ATCT representative, and other FAA personnel present
should be given the opportunity to make germane comments of the Airshow
An ample time for questions from the participants should be allowed to ensure
that all personnel are clear on the activities for the event.
The Briefer must ensure that all participants understand the proposed
operations. Any areas of possible
misunderstanding must be sought out and clarified.
The Briefer must not ASS/U/ME that the participants understand the
SIGNED AND RETURNED:
Has everyone required to sign the FAA Waiver done so?
Ensure that all watches are coordinated to the correct local time.
TIME AND PLACE OF FAA PILOT CREDENTIALS CHECK & AIRCRAFT INSPECTION:
While it is the individual performers responsibility to provide evidence of
proper pilot certification and aircraft documentation to the FAA Monitor, it is
recommended that the Airshow sponsor obtain such documentation in advance of
the Airshow Briefing. The individual
inspection of pilot certificates and aircraft records can consume a great deal
Send a checklist of the required documentation to all the Airshow's
participants. Ask them to provide
Certified or Notarized copies of the documentation which is then sent to the
FAA Monitor in advance of the Airshow.
and communication between the designated FAA Monitor, the Airshow Operations
Manager's staff, and the performers will resolve many of the
certification/documentation difficulties prior to the General Briefing.
Any remaining unresolved certification or documentation problems can then
be cleared up immediately after the General Briefing.
TO SPECIAL BRIEFINGS AS NECESSARY:
Adjourn the General Briefing, convene any necessary Special Briefing for the
Warbirds, Jumpers, Special Act coordination, etc.
Due to the number of key Airshow personnel present at the General
Briefing, adjourn that Briefing as soon as possible to allow these people to
return to their jobs. Convene
Special Briefings, as necessary, to complete the coordination of all events.
Special Briefing is very important for the "non‑professional' airshow
performer such as: warbirds, commercial flybys, local non‑touring
Flight Patterns used by the Warbirds and Commercial exhibitors are of special
importance. The patterns to be flown
should be depicted on the Area, Site, and Airport charts using visible
landmarks. The Briefer should establish, consistent the FAA Waiver, the
minimum/maximum altitudes, airspeeds, and crowd distances to be used during the
flybys as well as the distance between each aircraft or formation.
If, because of performance characteristics of the aircraft, more than one
pattern is used, the Briefer must devote specific attention to the planning of
these patterns to eliminate aircraft approaching head on or without visibility
of the other aircraft. The Briefer
should separate the patterns by both altitude and geographical area.
In establishing minimum altitudes for any pattern, it should be
remembered that an aircraft flying very low to the ground cannot be seen by many
of the spectators. Experience
indicates that 200 feet provides the minimum altitude for spectators to observe
the aircraft and provides an adequate margin of safety for the aircraft during
the flyby. The Briefer should
identify the number and type of flybys to be made for each pattern and each
AIRSHOW BRIEFING CHECKLIST
Air Operations Manager
Ground Operations Manager
and Crowd Control Supervisors
Medical Service (
Fire & Rescue (CFR)
and Smoke Oil Personnel (POL)
Show Staff present
Operations Manager (AOM)
Operations Manager (GOM)
Fire Rescue Representative
PASSING AROUND COPY OF WAIVER.
NOTAM was disseminated 48 hrs
prior to the event.
WEATHER BRIEF quick overview
of show time local weather
and expected trends.
_________ ceiling _________vis
FAA Airshow Waiver
OVERVIEW OF THE WAIVER AND SPECIAL
"NON STANDARD" SPECIAL PROVISIONS.
THE WAIVER IS IN EFFECT.
AREA OF OPERATIONS AS DEFINED IN
TO FLIGHT WITHIN THE OPERATIONAL AREA.
Use Area & Site Map
NOISE SENSITIVE AREAS AND/OR AREAS TO BE AVOIDED DURING THE DEMONSTRATION.
Use Area Map
SHOW CENTER LINE FOR EACH CLASS OF AIRCRAFT
500 foot center line
foot center line
foot center line
Jumper Landing Area
Site Map or Runway Diagram
LOCATION OF SUPPORT SERVICES AND NAME OF PERSON
Refreshment Area (water & Ice)
Site Map or Runway Diagram
Control Frequency ________MHz
to Air Frequency? ________MHz
(14) OPERATIONAL AREAS "X'ed".
SPECTATORS CONFINED TO DESIGNATED AREAS
in charge? ___________________
Use Site Map or Runway Diagram
PERFORMER VEHICLE AND AIRCRAFT PARKING
Site Map or Runway Diagram
IN THE EVENT OF A INCIDENT, ONLY AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL
WILL MAKE STATEMENTS TO MEDIA!
of person authorized ____________
CONFIRM AIRSHOW EVENTS SCHEDULE
post show departures
COMMENTS FROM FAA REPRESENTATIVE/S
Control Tower Chief &/or Shift Supv.
WAIVER SIGNED AND RETURNED?
ANNOUNCE TIME AND PLACE OF FAA PILOT CREDENTIALS CHECK
ADJOURN TO SPECIAL BRIEFINGS AS NECESSARY
to Special Briefing for Warbirds
Opening Flag Jump, etc. if necessary
TOTAL TIME for the COMPLETE General briefing should be approximately 15 to 30
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