kalamazookid wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:32 pm
Just stopping for dinner on my way home from Battle Creek. Fun airshow today! The Super Hornet, Osprey and Class of '45 act were the highlights for me. I was really surprised by the speed and maneuverability of the Vampire. After the take-off roll, I thought for sure it was going to be a plodding, slow demo, but that little bugger can really move! The Prowlers of the Pacific act was a bit of a letdown (could have used a different announcer telling about the aircraft rather reciting the entire history of the Pacific War, and more flying in front of the crowd), but it was still cool to see the Helldiver, Dauntless and Corsair flying around. There was a good variety of acts without over-saturating a particular type of flying.
The show seems to have changed a lot since my last visit, which was probably eight or nine years ago, and definitely for the better. Maybe it's just that I was in a bad spot during previous visits, but it seemed like the show line is now aligned with the runways much better and the aircraft seem to fly a lot closer to the crowd. I didn't expect to get any photo opportunities today and was surprised that most of the aircraft taxied in front of the crowd. Haven't had a chance to go through any yet, but I might actually have a few keepers. Being able to bring a cooler was nice on such a hot day and the atmosphere was really relaxed. I was very impressed with the show!
One of the reasons I hadn't gone to Battle Creek in so long is that it always seems so civilian-heavy, and aerobatic flippy-dips just don't do anything for me. I hope the attendance numbers and feedback support a warbird-heavy theme more often, even if it's only once every few years. I'll definitely be making this show more of a priority in the future. We had a great time!
Thank you, Matt. We thought we had a terrific lineup for both air shows this year as well and we have already begun booking performers for next year's air show(s) already. We were extremely blessed to have been selected to host all three demos. ICAS President John Cudahy was at our show and he said that it's pretty much "unheard of" in the modern day for a show to have a demo from the Marines, Air Force & Navy. Add in our terrific warbird and civilian lineup and we certainly had one of the Best Shows of 2018. While our attendance didn't reflect it (weather was the issue though), our reviews certainly did. So yes, we will consider more warbird type shows in the future. The heat had an impact on attendance, but not as horribly as I originally thought. I kept looking back during our hot days and thinking to myself "more people showed up than I thought would considering the conditions). Things really took off on Tuesday Night! We couldn't utilize the perch for the Twilight/Night Show due to June Bugs swarming (we'd be swallowing them while giving performers clearances), so we were parked in a truck on RWY 13/31. I remember looking back and seeing the packed crowd and really wish I would've gotten a shot from the perch. July 4th was an absolutely beautiful crowd and I do have shots of that from up on the perch.
Prowlers of the Pacific was definitely a different act, and they are just now getting things started (they're super new!). They were great to work with and having multiple rare aircraft at one show plus having the pyro was definitely great for us. Seeing the Dauntless and Helldiver in the skies over Battle Creek was just plain amazing!
Once construction on the new parallel runway (5R & 23L) was finished, we were able to move our event grounds. The design of it all was actually created with the event in mind as well. New electrical hookups were installed during the construction and we were able to shift our showline a bit. Instead of Bravo Taxiway being right in front of the crowd, it now delineated the back end of our crowdline. This meant we had moved that much closer. In addition, we could parellel up the crowdline and runway once and for all! Now our showlines sit at the exact minimums required. Charlie Taxiway still isn't too far away and that sets up for some terrific photos and videos of taxiing aircraft.
Thank you for the comments and we do expect to have a terrific lineup again next year. As always, we'll still allow coolers
RyanS wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:45 am
Somehow Wednesday ended up being the hottest day of all with no breeze! I can't say it was fun but I can say I survived. The weekday shows were shorter and had a couple breaks, which was fine because at least the motorcycles went for the crowd. The twilight show had a decent sunset for the first time in memory, and the night acts got pushed a little forward which was way better than dragging it out.
One thought since I know Brett will be here when he wakes up from some well-deserved rest. I think it would be nice for one of the days (depends how they fall any given year) to do a show Goshen style and start the flying in the late afternoon and put all of the acts up instead of a small twilight show. Just an option to consider!
Wednesday was certainly hot but still brought the biggest crowd haha. I guess when it comes to the 4th, no one will joke around (granted the forecast for the 4th was still "cooler" than the 30th and 1st, so that could also explain it). You survived, yes. And you also had fun just because it was a fun lineup, but I agree the heat wasn't fun. I remember the look Ryan and I gave eachother up on the perch at the end of the air show on Saturday...it was literally a "we survived the hottest day of the event, we can make it through anything now". It was an interesting time. But we had been blessed with four years of great weather, dates and attendance. Planning an outdoor event, you run into this sometimes. At least it didn't rain (well it did Sunday night, but it was towards the end anyway).
When planning the schedule for the weekday shows, it worked out perfectly. We asked Tim Dyson to perform one extra show, and he agreed. The crowd was already there for the air show and it went on like it was part of the air show! It worked perfectly and even fit in with the "Fast & Furious" theme we gave the weekday shows. The only "real" break was for the Great Lakes Timber Show, and a decent amount of people made their way over for that. They certainly know how to draw a crowd. The gaps were more noticeable seeing as we were down an act (Rest in Peace Dan), but we were able to work them out into what we had.
The Twilight & Night Air Show drew a huge crowd and the reviews from it were amazing. We hadn't had one in four years and we added it back in to see how much of a draw it would be. Needless to say, we're already planning a Night Air Show again for next year! The sunset was absolutely beautiful! I had my camera with me but didn't snap any photos until the 4th really, once I got comfortable settling in to my role in Air Operations. I really wish I had taken some photos that night though, with many of the landings happening with the sunset right in the background.
We had considered doing an evening only show on the 3rd, but that transpired into the full blown air show plus the Twilight & Night Air Show. We're glad we went that route because it helped draw more people in during the day, which we needed to offset the hit we took due to the heat on the weekend (which, in all seriousness, wasn't that bad). Doing the two separate shows gives some pilots more of a chance to fly twice as well as helps us in the revenue portion (more money spent at vendors etc...). Another reason was that we were the day before a holiday and many people would have the day off and want to stay up late. So we decided to have it be a full-day affair. We didn't want to deal with complaints either, so having a full day helped in that realm. But you can't please everyone. I had a note sent to me that someone had left a review on Facebook saying the event keeps getting shorter with less things to do each year...yet we were a full seven days this year (we added an extra day) had two different air shows (compared to our usual one), added a Twilight & Night Air Show and added more attractions on the grounds. Not sure how that's us shrinking, but if any of the other reviews are indicative of anything, most everyone had a great time (despite the heat) this year!
We have our dates ready for next year, July 2nd-7th, 2019 (Tuesday-Sunday). We are hoping to do two air shows again plus tons of other great activities/attractions. We already have three acts booked for next year....but we'll let us roll more towards fall before we start worrying about announcing them
Was great seeing everyone this year and hope everyone had a great time!