Static displays

  • Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bobby Jonte

The local civic club was putting on an airshow. The show was in the mid 1980s. The show was at the local airport and proceeds were going to help the local civic club’s activities.

The show was made up of local pilots. This small airport didn’t have a fixed base operation. All the pilots were able to fly in with enough fuel to do the show and fly home. Everyone involved was close to the airport.

It turned out to be a beautiful fall day and the show was well received by the community. People paid with donations and bought concessions from the local civic club. The pilots all flew in on time and things looked to be on track for a well run show.

All that changed when a few people walked out on the ramp. One of the show pilots screamed that people were about to touch his airplane. He yelled at the spectators and the announcer that was a civic club member and private pilot. No fabric was touched or fingerprints put on any metal. Still, the shouting match dampened the mood.

The ramp was cleared and most of the spectators ended up climbing on a national guard truck. People lined up to climb on the truck and took pictures.

I thought then that static display should be a part of every show. These spectators just wanted to get a look at the mysterious things called planes.

The FAA man made everyone move off the ramp and that ended the controversy of looking at the planes.

Right after the show most of the show pilots took off for home. The Cessna 172 with the door off had served as a jump plane. The spectators once again got on the ramp. The highlight seemed to be a chance to look into the 172 and be amazed by all the instruments. The brightly colored airshow planes didn’t seem to draw any attention.

Thirty years have passed since that show. Now there are lots more static displays at shows now. The aerobatic display has not changed much in the last 30 years. More static displays now draw more attention than ever. The chance to take a close look at the planes seems to warm the hearts of the spectators and create an interest in aviation.

Aviation amazes because such a small portion of the population can fly. Any body can drive a car. You can leave a NASCAR event and most of the spectators believe they could drive in that race. “Anyone can drive fast.”

Planes have all sorts of strange instruments and controls. Throw in some pretty colors, loud sounds and maneuvers that fill the sky, the people go wild and want to touch these wonderful machines. It’s hard to get close to these wonder machines. That’s why static displays are so important to airshows.

Getting close to the action is still what people want to tell their friends. They got to watch the people get buckled in his plane. “He wasn’t so big either.”

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