From Thursday February 21st to Saturday February 23rd the European Airshow Council organized its 13th Annual Convention in Hasselt (Belgium). With 150 delegates representing 25 countries the airshow industries expresses its appreciation for EAC’s efforts in achieving its fundamental objective to promote excellence and safety at airshows.
During the annual EAC Convention all interested in the Airshow Industry, including Military and Civil Aviation Authorities, Performers, Organisers and National Aerobatic Team representatives as well as Commentators and Journalists gather in order to discus standards of excellence in the Airshow Industry. At the same time the EAC Convention offers excellent networking opportunities for all involved. With 150 delegates from across Europe and countries such as South-Africa, Qatar, Al-Ain, Jordan and USA the number of delegates increased with well over 40% since last year while the number of countries that was represented increased with about 25%. These numbers show the success and international character of EAC’s Convention.
The theme for this Convention was “Too many accidents in 2007 – How do we improve the safety of the Display Pilot?”. Under the expert chairmanship of Major General Des Barker (S-Africa) and Dr David Stevenson (UK) a lively pre-Convention Seminar was organised on Thursday afternoon. Through presentations and discussions various contributory factors to airshow accidents were touched upon.
Various speakers of the Seminar or the Convention elaborated upon factors that contributed to incidents and accidents such as Safety Briefings, Fatigue and Stress at an airshow, G-LOC during display, distraction of display pilots, displaying vintage aircrafts, the introduction of a new aerobatic aeroplane, uniform display regulations and the role of a Display Inspector. Not only have these factors been analysed based upon incidents and accidents that occurred over the past few years, through discussions and a forum session, in which all delegates participated, suggestions and recommendations were made for the future.
Several delegates recognised EAC’s leading role in setting, developing and updating Joint Aviation Authority Guidelines. In that respect delegates called upon EAC to continue making steady progress in its efforts of being recognised in this debate by European Union bodies. It is believed that such Joint Aviation Authority Guidelines can contribute to decreasing the number of incidents involved in Airshows.
During the traditional Aviation Dinner at AeroClub Sanicole on Friday evening the Red Bull Air Races (represented by Mr Heinz Möller) received the Paul Bowen Award, while Mr Jacques Bothelin (leader Breitling Jet Team) received the the chairman’s Trophy for his lifetime airshow achievements. Also awarded that evening were the prizes for the best publicity material by an organiser and by a performer, as judged by an international group of delegates!
This years EAC Convention brought skilled speakers and excellent presentations and has been very successful. The increasing number of delegates from across the Airshow Industry underlines the need of an international body that together with ICASS takes the lead in further improving the Airshow Industry. We already look forward to an exciting and safe 2008 airshow season.