The time between now and our Air Show on 11 Jun 17 is certainly flying by! Lots to do, but also so much has been achieved already…
The focus for Oct has been on wrapping up all of the admin from last year, producing the Business Plan for next year and generally putting us into ‘campaign mode’ so that we achieve all of our many tasks on time. Needless to say, this takes strong teamwork and much coordination.
The key activity from my perspective over the last month or so has been in looking at how we can generate interest from participants. The Air Show calendar in the UK is congested, with many commercial operators seeking to maximise their own shows. We received constructive feedback from customers this year and we were left clear as to what they would all like to see as part of Air Show 17. More afterburners and more military aircraft (!) especially from the RAF and European partners, were common observations.
In order to drum up support we decided to hold a Launch Event in the President’s Room of the RAF Club in London and we invited numerous military Defence Attachés, High Commissioners and Industry Heads to join us. This was a real team effort from all of the Air Show Team that required careful choreography, all under Michaela’s central coordination. In addition, we managed to secure AVM Rich Knighton (Assistant Chief of the Air Staff) to spare us his time to support this event and to reinforce how important the RAF Cosford Air Show is to the RAF as a means of engaging with the public and promoting the good work that the RAF undertakes on behalf of the nation.
The event was a resounding success, with packed attendance and much interest. After the main presentation we fielded lots of questions and generated much interest for our Hospitality options. The bookings are filling up nicely, and Marilyn is busy sorting out the commercial aspects of such deals.
Not all Attaches could make the event. Not to be undone, Peter had pre-arranged Embassy visits for the following day in order for the two of us to make our pitch. The Polish Embassy staff were hugely welcoming and a letter requesting all manner of Fast Jet participation is on its way to the head of the Polish Air Force. We’re also following up after the Attaché event in order to cement some bookings. Our Air Show themes give us the solid framework upon which to build.
Another key event was our team’s attendance at the 2 Day Symposium to discuss lessons learnt from the UK Airshow Season 2016. This event was held at Shrivenham and was jointly run by the Military Aviation Authority and the British Air Display Association. Clive and Peter jointly presented on numerous lessons from the RAF Cosford Air Show, and the audience loved the honesty and refreshing style that sought to open up the floor to many ideas.
The crux of the symposium was to try to understand the tensions between the Air Show providers and the regulators (either Military Aviation Authority or Civil Aviation Authority). The post-Shoreham accident environment is necessarily more heavily regulated, and the whole community awaits the findings and impact of the soon to be released Air Accident Investigation Board findings.
From an RAF Cosford Air Show perspective, we are in a very strong position as we have embraced all previous recommendations and are confident that we are running a safe Air Show. Don’t just take my word for it, our regulator audited us before and during last year’s event and they were very content with our arrangements, with several examples of best practise identified.
My focus now is on engaging with the many Project Managers and Project Officers from the RAF Cosford military community who will help us to deliver Air Show 17. I’ve worked closely with Michaela and my Chief of Staff Paul in order to refine the lists, and I’m happy that we have the right skills in the right jobs. By the time of my next instalment I will have held a mass briefing to get everyone on the same page.
Don’t forget tickets are going on sale Tuesday 15th November at an early bird price of £22.00 for an adult! Accompanied under-16s enter for free making it a great day out for all the family!
Exciting times ahead! Wing Commander Chris Jones, Chairman #Cosford17