April 2017

Less than 60 days until the RAF Cosford Air Show on Sunday 11 June 2017. The culmination of an incredible amount of work, for many people, is quickly approaching.  To be fair, the Air Show Office Team are veterans at working at such a high tempo, and my role is to keep up with their pace!

Lots has happened since the last blog and we’ve really started to ramp up our commercial activity.  The last week of March saw us holding our exciting Press Launch event. It was superb to see such interest across local and national media outlets. In particular, I was impressed with the depth of questioning and the deep knowledge that the reporters brought with them. It was great to see several social media sites represented and we’ve seen an explosion of interest across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and numerous blog and vlog sites.  Local papers and radio covered the press launch and we even get a mention in the RAF News.  I personally conducted 12 interviews for camera and radio on the day and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Some would say that I have a face for radio, and I’m hugely grateful for such kind feedback!  On a serious note, my attendance on the military Media Awareness Course last year was great preparation. The team also prepared me by asking me tough questions ahead of our launch.  All of the press were really positive and we’ve certainly generated the intended ‘buzz’ that we sought to create.

In April we held our Emergency Services Planning Seminar and this was an excellent opportunity for the Cosford team to meet and engage with the emergency services that support our Air Show. Lots of the external attendees are old-hands at supporting the Air Show and their experience and wise words of advice have certainly helped the RAF team to better understand the complexities of running such a large event. Our guest speaker on the day was the senior Fire & Rescue manager who attended the Shoreham Hunter crash in 2015. His presentation has truly humbling and gave us all food for thought in relation to our own incident management processes and the challenges of ensuring safety at all times. This seminar is just one small part of the planning cycle and we are conducting a live exercise, with some of our trainees as actors, early in May.  Our emergency services colleagues will also attend and we have an Event Control exercise in the afternoon.

Our Contingency Project Manager and his Project Officers have been sprinting to organise these exercises and I’m very grateful for their support. All planning is supported with a range of key documents, called Operational Orders, which clearly explain everyone’s roles and responsibilities on the day of the Air Show.

The themes we picked with your help are developing very nicely. Peter and Mike have an action packed display and we’re just waiting for final contract activity before announcing some exciting late additions. Make sure to track the @cosfordairshow Twitter page for updates!

Michaela and the STEM Project Team have some great plans to fill a large hangar with some truly interactive activities for our younger visitors. The ‘Space’ themed hangar is going to be spell-binding, with lots of support from industry and academia who are keen to showcase their amazing technology, including virtual reality demonstrations and an exciting ‘find the planet’ hunt for youngsters to seek out our planetary neighbours across the Air Show site (tip: the distance from the Space Hangar will be relative and accurate).  This theme has inspired me to read ‘Starman’ the biography of Yuri Gagarin, just so I can fully appreciate the Space Hangar and the superb displays.

The 60s themed Vintage Village is an exciting part of our ground activities and Marilyn’s plans will make visitors think they’ve gone back in time as they absorb the full ambience of the fun plans for this area. I guarantee that some visitors will spend hours soaking up memories of their youth!

As well as the 12 Project Managers and 80 Project Officers who are beavering away to deliver a superb event, the rest of RAF Cosford are contributing and supporting the teams. Station Workshops, Graphics, the Military Provost Guard Service, RAF Regt Section, our HR department and numerous clubs are all putting much energy into making sure that all our visitors have a great day.  Lots to do, but we’re all thrilled with progress and are looking forward to Sunday 11 June 17.

Exciting times indeed 🙂  Wing Commander Chris Jones, Chairman #Cosford17


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