Air Show team hits planning milestone for Air and Space Expo

  • Published
  • By Douglas Hays
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs
The old adage that you must crawl before you walk fits with planning an air show as well.

A team from Grissom attended the International Council of Air Shows in Las Vegas Dec. 1-7 and took early first steps toward making the Grissom Air and Space Expo a reality.

Lt. Cols. Brian Thompson, Billy Werth, Majors Chad Tice and other members of the air show planning team, travelled westward to talk, learn, interact, and in some cases, sign performers for the Grissom air and Space Expo scheduled for Sept. 7-8.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” Thompson said of the convention and workshop. “You realize how much work there is to do, and how little time there is to do it.”

With less than a year away from Grissom’s first air show in 16 years, planning team members got the lowdown on putting together a successful event.

“This is our time to show the tax payers how their money is spent,” said Master Sgt. Ben Mota, noncommissioned officer in charge of public affairs. “We want to be good hosts to our friends and neighbors and give them a show that they will talk about long after they leave the base.”

An Air Force open house workshop, Air Shows 101 and 102 classes and other breakout sessions helped Thompson and his team formulate a more focused plan and learn insights on how to make the show successful.

“While flying acts are important, it’s those basic needs like water, restrooms, and even parking that will really make or break a show,” Thompson said.

An exhibit hall offered vendors and show planners to interact, make contact and even book performers and support personnel for events.

“We were able to make some good contacts and hopefully gain some solid commitments for our event,” Thompson said. “With the Thunderbirds already booked, our headliner is done, so we just have to fill in the gaps to fill our flying window.”

Grissom’s last Air Show was in 2003, and many changes have occurred during that time.

“I’m excited for this,” Thompson said. “We’ve got a good team, a good plan, and now an informed start to make things happen.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Air Force Reserve Command Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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