Without the annual ICAS trade show, there would be no smoke and aerobatics.
Roger Mola and Dennis Biela / Photos by Dennis Biela
Fans may come to an air show for the spectacle, but its safety and staging are deliberate and even dull. Each December and usually in Las Vegas, the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) brings together show managers, pilots and performers, along with food, drink and merchandise companies, to help plan more than 200 shows for the next year in North America.
Attendance at ICAS is limited to professionals in the air show industry, who shake hands at its exhibit booths, discuss safety, logistics, and business management at its seminars, and honor their own members for showmanship and excellence at a banquet held on its final night. No flying takes place at ICAS, but some of the world’s most capable pilots are easy to find, particular on flight suit day.
Early in the convention, major performance groups such as the USAF Thunderbirds, US Navy Blue Angels, and major civilian performers sign up to appear at shows, while the rest of the convention is devoted to booking a variety of aircraft and ground-based attractions that help to draw crowds.