January 2017

A very Happy New Year to our blog-followers. 2017 is already whizzing past and the Air Show team is getting seriously excited about our plans.  A small point, but I can now refer to ‘This Year’s Show’, rather than ‘Next Year’s Show’; I find this accelerates the adrenaline when contemplating the exciting work ahead of us!

I’ve written to every Sqn Boss in the RAF to beg request support and replies have been coming in over the last week 🙂 Lots of positive responses and our Air Show is certainly on radars as the Sqns value the fact that we are the only RAF-organised Air Show.

We are getting close to finding out how our formal requests for participation have been received, from a host of countries, and we will update formally on results via our Facebook and Twitter feeds. It’s all about trickling info out in order to keep your excitement in chime with ours!

I chaired the first formal Project Managers’ meeting last week and had a packed room full of people with organised folders and big smiles.  It’s great to see that the maxim of ‘mission command’ that I spoke about several months ago has been adopted by all. Essentially, I trust the team to deliver my intent of trying something new and freshening displays and what we offer to our important visitors on 11 Jun 17.  There’s lots of innovative thinking happening and I’m really pleased that ideas from our most junior personnel are stimulating plans.

In relation to aircraft news, we have announced some exciting additions that complement our ‘Battlefield Support’ theme. We have a Huey and Loach as rotary flying displays, but I’m personally excited about the opportunity to see an A4 Skyraider flying at Cosford. For those younger than me, the A4 Skyraider is an awesome piece of aviation history that saw service in some really close battlefield support roles. Downed pilots in Vietnam often had a pair of Skyraiders flying patrol over them whilst a rescue mission was being hastily launched. Films like Bat 21 and The Bridges of Tokyo Ri are worth a viewing if you’d like to see more ahead of 11 Jun ! 🙂

Another addition to our static display is the British Aerospace EAP which is kindly being released to us by the RAF Museum here at Cosford. This unique aircraft will afford photographers a superb opportunity and Peter (Operations Manager) has the job of working out position versus sun angles versus the need to capture that perfect image. To be fair, he’s really good at this.

Marilyn (Deputy Director) has been selling hospitality bookings since our launch event and we are way ahead of sales in relation to this time last year.

Michaela (Office Manager) has been using her amazing Social Media skills to run several Facebook live events to generate interest in the lesser known elements of pulling together an Air Show.  She’s challenged me to a ‘Marshall-off’ later this month where she aims to pit her marshalling skills against me in my modern synthetic marshalling simulator.  To be fair, she has no chance, unless she’s been sneakily practising with 238 Sqn…

Clive (Director) is keeping our feet to the fire on the overall plan and ensuring that commercial progress matches his intent. Mike (Flying Display Director) and Peter ran the first Operations Meeting and I found that hugely beneficial. As you can imagine, keeping our display safe requires lots of thought and planning from a range of stakeholders, including the CAA and MAA. The Operations Meeting has really set us up for success in this area and the level of knowledge of the team is extremely high.  We still await the output of the Shoreham Investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Branch, but we are in a healthy position in relation to delivering our Air Show due to our local geography and the great work that last year’s chairman undertook last year.

My Air Show planning diary is filling up with key dates and I need to stay on top of the plan. Luckily I have a great team in support. Key events for me include an exercise to test a range of responses from Event Control. We have a great working relationship with all civil contingency units and all will be in attendance to share lessons. 

Exciting times! 🙂

Wing Commander Chris Jones, Chairman #Cosford17

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