consuming “attitude adjustment fluid” after a resent airshow, several
performers, and this writer, were mussing over the changes taking place in our
industry – some good, some bad. Change
is enviable, progress is unstoppable and the airshow industry is climbing to the
next level we all seemed to have wanted; but there is a hidden cost that all
performers are having to pay.
our industry grows, we performers are losing our status and special place within
the airshow production hierarchy. As
we duly expect better compensation for our skills and strive to become more
professional, the down side is that we becoming more like employees or simply
hired help of the airshow.
of my fellow commiserates lamented that the he missed the special treatment, the
parties, the “status” that was once directed to the airshow performer.
Frankly, I do too; but I also
realize that as this industry “advances” our roles as airshow performers are
changing from instant celebrity in a little nitch market to that of journeymen
entertainers on the national stage. We
will be forced to work harder, have less “fun” but, in turn, be much better
of the results of this evolution is that some of our long time airshow friends
will not make the transition.
often compare airshows to NASCAR; and in this case, the parallel is valid.
Procter & Gamble announced that they were withdrawing their Tide sponsorship
from 24-year NASCAR veteran, Ricky Rudd. The
reasons are varied, but very simply put, Rudd is a single car racing operation
in an industry that is fast become dominated by major, well funded,
professionally run, multi-car teams. Bottom
line, Rudd is having a hard time staying competitive both on the racetrack and
in the corporate boardroom.
is really the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like time,” Rudd was
recently quoted. “I guess racing
is growing and it’s changing and, hopefully, it’s all for the better.
But I think, unfortunately, a lot of the guys who paid their dues and
helped create this sport are tending to get run over.”
comments are as valid for the airshow industry as it is to NASCAR.
Our industry is rapidly changing. Major
corporate players are entering our little arena; bring big bucks and even bigger
demands. Being a “nice guy” or
even a “great” pilot will no longer cut it in a business climate that will
only judge “performance” on it’s affect on product sales and in a
corporate Profit & Loss statement.
to the “Big Time!” Its here, its
now, it’s the unavoidable future. Like
it or not, get ready: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way.
If you don’t, remember what Ricky told you, “you’ll get run