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Thread: Appearance fees

  1. #1
    MEdwards's Avatar
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    Appearance fees

    Article on Avweb today:

    Jerry Yagen of Fighter Factory says they won't bring their recently completed Mosquito fighter bomber and a new-build version of an Me. 262 jet fighter to Oshkosh unless EAA pays them. EAA Acting President Jack Pelton says EAA won't pay for exhibits to come to Oshkosh.

    Can't say I disagree with either of them. Too bad, though.

    Did the jet truck, the jet powered outhouse, and the fire-breathing whatever it was all come for free?

  2. #2

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    I have never heard of anyone getting an appearance fee to bring a plane to Oshkosh, though there may have been some non public payment.

    One year they had a big British focus and I was specifically invited to bring a plane to show center. I got a courtesy car for free, I think, and a parking pass that went most places.

    Some people may get free housing, I am not sure about that. And EAA reimburses for fuel used to fly in the show, not enroute fuel.

    Jerry has some very special planes, and I'd love to see them there, and flying, but I hope EAA continues the tradition of the past. I'll probably phone Jerry, but I'd guess that he is not very flexible on this. Many people have spent a small fortune to restore some very rare planes and they naturally can expect a show to pay them as an attraction. But EAA has built something special at Oshkosh. If you own a special plane and want a high price to display it, then it will be priced out of many venues. I don't think many real pilots want to restore a plane just to have it sit in their hangar, nor do I want to miss out on some of the special places to attend like Oshkosh. I have not yet been to Jerry's place in Virginia but I hear it is great and I want to get there sometime.

    Maybe there is some way around it, like an outside sponsor offering a fee directly to Jerry to bring a plane.

    Let's take the money to be spent on Thunderbirds, which is substantial since they require housing and cars for many people if not outright payment for the planes, and use it to help make a good show in every other way.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 01-10-2013 at 01:18 PM.

  3. #3

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    Jack says it would be a "fundamental policy change" to provide appearance fees for aircraft to attend AV. Does anyone know how long this has been in effect? I'm in favour because it keeps admission costs down.

  4. #4

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    As a former airshow performer I can tell you that Sun-N-Fun and Airventure are where everyone flys for 0$ to show off their act for the organizers of all of the other airshows. That and attending the ICAS convention are what everyone in the business wants to do.

    You have to be invited to perform at Sun-N-Fun or Airventure. I have to say that looking down at the flightline at Sun-N-Fun from overhead airshow center at 2PM was a highlight of my participation in the airshow business.

    Have lots of fun out there.

    Wes
    N78PS

  5. #5

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    In 30 or so years of going to airshows, there are some things that make it fun at least for my standpoint, and EAA has some of this.
    First of all, is it a cool place? It may be beautiful on its own like Aspen or Genesseo or historic like Duxford or Biggin Hill, or just a fun part of the country to be in or a place like Breckenridge or Chino that is great because the airshow or event has been built up to be special.

    And it may be special because of the planes itself or the pilots like Reno or Midland.

    next, and this is where EAA shines, is there something more to do than just the airshow? What if the weather is bad and there is no flying? Do you sit around bored and just swill beer or is there other things to do, both aviation related and perhaps no aviation like going out to good restaurants or some sightseeing like to the beach or Niagara Falls or similar?

    And how about the people, are there some fun and maybe like minded folks to spend your time with, and again this is a strength of EAA. I really love meeting lot's of people at EAA and sharing the time with them, even people who I may have little in common outside of aviation. Over the years I have met some fun characters this way, and it seems to me that pilots and EAA types are a bit more lively and just brighter than many run of the mill everyday people that you meet.

    I have gone to many events for free at my own expense, and at others I've gotten some significant $$ to bring a plane or two. There is no direct connection between how much, if any, you are getting paid and how much fun you have, at least not for me.. Nothing was better than the old shows Howard and Eddie, and Nelson, and Bill had at Breckenridge and all of it was on our own pocket except all the Bar B Q you could eat or beer you could drink, or monkey business that you could get into.

    It is very common to get a room and perhaps 100 gal or so of fuel, like Steve gave me at Chino, and possibly a rent a car when bringing a plane to a show, but a lot less common to get actual payment. If you have the only flying B-29 in the world you may get money or if you are someone special as a pilot, you may get paid.

    To me, sometimes the places with the big budgets, are not the most fun, and can be too rigid or have some downside like having to listen to lots of jet noise.
    But is always feels good to receive some actual money, not just the normal human feeling of being valued, but the idea that there is some rational profit chance in fun aviation, and at least you are not spending money as fast as we probably are.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 01-10-2013 at 04:25 PM.

  6. #6

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    I can assure you that very few people make money doing airshows. Airshows are aeronautical vaudeville and have relatively thin budgets. We do them because we can, and we have real jobs to pay the mortgage.

    Most shows, as you note, will provide free fuel to performers and fly-by participants. Once upon a time I was in line at the fuel pump behind the late Dave Tallichet's B-17 at the end of an airshow. We were both loading performer going home fuel. He asked for 1,000 gallons. I waited while they loaded him up.

    That said, Oshkosh and Sun-N-Fun are the big performer show cases. In my case, we used Sun-N-Fun photos in marketing literature to land slots at our regional shows. OSH and SnF know that, so they can be selective about who they invite and we all went knowing that we bought our own fuel, hotel, and rental car. It pays off during the rest of the season and those costs are factored into pricing for the other events we performed at.

    So part of the airshow business is knowing how it works. In the last 15 years the business has evolved and you can no longer just show up with a T-6 for static display and expect any support or compensation. Everything costs more, budgets are tight, the FAA checks everything on airshow day. You have to work your participation out in advance. Most flying in airshow waivered airspace now requires some type of competency credential for what you might fly, be it a FAST card, airshow aerobatic competency credential, or even a skydiver PRO card. Behind all of the smoke and noise, its a business in multiple dimensions.

    Fly and be happy.

    Wes
    N78PS

  7. #7

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    Wes,I may be wrong these days, but I don't believe the FAA requires any sort of FAST card to fly in an airshow. If you are doing acro in waivered airspace, then an acro competency card is required, but this is nothing new, it has been that way for decades, even before the T-34 association came up with such a group called fast.

    The airshow may require proof of insurance or there may be a check of some credentials, but not requiring everyone to have a fast card.

    At EAA everyone that flies in the show, yes T-6s and even jets and t-28s can get show fuel, unless it has changed in the last few years.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 01-10-2013 at 09:15 PM.

  8. #8

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    If you are going to fly any kind of formation in waivered airspace the FAA requires a FAST card. I don't know that they require some sore of credential for simple fly-bys, but having witnessed a wardbird mid-air at a show (both went in with explosions and fire), I would not be surprised that some sort of card is now required. The FAA requires a card for a pilot to circle a parachute jumper with a flag for instance. That said, I never was a member of the nomex flight suit crowd so what I know comes from attending pre-show briefs and talking to FAA at ICAS. I am essentially retired from that business, but from what I hear it has only gotten more regulated.

    You may remember when a warbird guy only needed a Private Pilot Certificate. A number of years ago the FAA decided that getting "free" fuel or a rental car or hotel was "compensation for hire" and stopped allowing PPL pilots getting that support. Had to upgrade to a Commercial Certificate.

    So if you check, you will find that all of the T-6, T-34, YAK, etc guys who do the large formation fly-overs at OSH and Sun-N-Fun have FAST cards. Heck, the L-4 guys and the Swift guys have FAST accreditated formation programs now.

    I have spent a LOT more time than your average bear working with the FAA for the airshow work, field approvals, and airspace waivers. Spend too much time in FAA Order 8900.1 Flight Standards Information Management System chapters on this stuff. Welcome to my world.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS
    Last edited by WLIU; 01-11-2013 at 07:10 AM.

  9. #9

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    Wes, what I wrote and I stand by based on my experience around airshows, is that the FAA does not require a Fast card to fly in an airshow. A Fast card is a formation card, just as you wrote. It doesn't cover anything else, and isn't needed for anything else.. For instance if Jerry has his Mosquito fly at Osh, it is very likely that there will be solo passes since it is a unique airplane, a lot faster than bombers and may not be in formation with them. If the show boss puts a 250 mph Mosi in formation with a 170 mph B-17 that is a bad display planning.

    Another example would be Fifi which is so unique as to deserve solo passes.
    I have not flown in a show in about 4 years, but I am certain that in the last two shows that I flew there were solo flights with pilots who did not have Fast cards, so that they did not fly in formation, and they did not do acro, in one case the show (Thunder Over Michigan) did not want us to do acro and the other case the plane owner or pilot did not want to.

    You only need the specific cards if you are doing certain things like formation or acro.
    Of the shows that I have flown in about 30 years, I'd guess that we did acro in only 15% of them. Both Osh and Sun for instance don't have acro except in the solo acts, as per air boss instructions. As for formation, just a guess but again when I have flown, probably only 20% or so was in formation.

    As for receiving housing , that is usually compensation for bringing a display plane, doesn't have to do with commercial operation. I have been to shows where I got compensation and only did static display, though I don't prefer those kind.

    Now you are correct that the FAA now says you must have the com cert to be paid for airshow fuel, specifically the fuel used in flying in the show. But you don't need this if you are flying and not being reimbursed. This is typical of how silly some of the FAA rulings can be; ie you can fly for free but must have another rating to get paid for that same flying. It doesn't enhance safety at all, may even be counter productive since the owner could use the fuel reimbursment to pay for maintenace on his plane or more training. I think this is what you get when lawyers make pilot rules.

    I am not sure what "average bears" wear, seems like the ones I see around here in the fall have on fur coats, but I know that I wear a Nomex suit when I am in an airshow, seems like a small step for safety.

    You are correct that many T-34, etc. guys, like myself have a formation card and usually these large groups will fly in formation. But I have also seen non card T-34 pilots that just do a non formation passes behind the large group.

    And by the way, I have never heard of or even thought about "a card to circle a parachute jumper". What type of card would that be and what would the title be? It really isn't acro, bur not formation either.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 01-11-2013 at 09:30 PM.

  10. #10
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    For flying at OSH in the daily Warbirds airshow, you need to be able to show that your insurance covers that -- even for fly-bys. To clarify a little, you need a commercial rating with current Second Class medical if you want fuel reimbursement. FAST card if you will fly in formation. As a note, my insurance company wanted to see a copy of the FAST card, too before they endorsed my policy for flying in the airshow. Since I do not have one yet, the endorsement was for fly-by only (excluding formation flight.)

    Personally, I do not find this onerous at all. If anything, it is an incentive to get a FAST card, even if I never fly formation. Fuel compensation was nice, but my O-2 doesn't burn a thousand pounds per hour, either. Still, when you multiply even relatively small amounts for fuel compensation by the huge number of planes that fly in the show every day (some of which DO burn a thousand pounds per hour) it represents quite an investment for the airshow sponsors.

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