It’s about now that things normally start slotting into place: the paperwork is in order, the licences are issued, the pilots are briefed and all we have to do is wait for the day.
My planning is working out: the document known as ‘Pilots’ Notes’ is at the printers; the Display Pilot’s briefing is compiled; the accommodation plot is finalised and booked. Accommodation plot, I hear you say? Yes, I have to ensure that we have booked sufficient suitable accommodation not only for my display team but also for all the crews attending.
As you can imagine, finding sufficient rooms in one hotel in Edinburgh at this time of year can be tricky, especially one with conference facilities so that I can carry out the pilots’ pre-display briefing. Big as Edinburgh is, there aren’t many hotels in the area that can manage my requirements but thankfully we found one, and all my accommodation worries are now over.
I mentioned last week that I would talk about display pilots and their requirements – the different things display crews require to make their task easier. I like to look after my crews, having been one myself, and try to ensure that they have good rooms in a decent hotel. Transport is another issue – crew bus or similar is needed to get them to the aircraft and back again.
Crews like is somewhere quiet and comfortable to relax whilst they wait to display. This is sometimes more of a problem than it seems, as it’s difficult at some venues to provide anything more than a tent with chairs. With the National Museum of Flight Airshow we are lucky to have the rest facilities provided in the General Aviation terminal at Edinburgh Airport. Comfy chairs, satellite TV and a constant supply of tea/coffee and biscuits will keep most aircrew happy, and I envisage no problems.
The timing issues I mentioned earlier are part and parcel of a Display Director’s life. During the display season (June – September) it’s normal for there to be more than one flying display taking place each weekend. The weekend of our display also features the Southport Airshow, Windermere Airshow, and at least one South Coast seaside event. It’s not unusual for pilots to be displaying at more than one of these events on the same day, entailing close co-operation between all the different display control organisations and the pilots to ensure that everyone gets a fair division of the assets.
This obviously means that we sometimes can’t display an aircraft at the time we would like due to commitments elsewhere: at the National Museum of Flight there will be at least three display aircraft/acts that are displaying elsewhere either before or after their appearance here. Hopefully I’ve covered all the points required by all the crews, and they’ll be so pleased with the organisation of the Airshow at National Museum of Flight that they’ll be demanding to come back next year!
Next week – not long to go!