AirVenture Air Shows Rock
We’re usually so busy covering AirVenture that we rarely have time to give the afternoon airshow more than a passing glance. But this year, I’ve spent a couple of hours shooting around show center and I have to admit, EAA has outdone itself with both the acts and the pace of the show.
When we talked to Jack Pelton last weekend, he said the show had been retooled to include more acts at a faster pace and he wasn’t kidding. Some of the acts are as short as five minutes and few are longer than 10. That makes for an unusually quick-moving show and judging by the people I talked to around show center on Wednesday, the audience likes it that way.
But what really kicks this year’s show over the top is the addition of live cockpit audio and footage displayed on two giant Jumbotron screens either side of show center. This is a first at AirVenture and I think it dramatically improves the quality of the airshow experience. Like a major sporting event—think NASCAR or the NFL—the Jumbotron footage is both live and directed, so there’s a mix of cockpit shots, external tracking camera views and even performers ingressing their aircraft before takeoff.
We’re seeing live shots from everything from skydivers to the major aerobatic acts, all transmitted via a real-time datalink. This technology really saved the Yves Rossy Jetman act. At 5000 feet, the guy is a speck and everyone in the crowd was looking in a different direction. But on the big screen, you could see his live feed and the tracking camera could always seem to find him. Without it, I think that portion of the show would have been a snoozer.
We’ll be doing some reporting on the technology later in the week, but if you’re here at AirVenture, make a point to take in the airshow. If you plant yourself a couple of hundred feet from the screens toward the front of the flight line, you won’t be disappointed.