It has been a while since I've written as we've just been having too much fun flying. We shot AcroCamp II, gave a lot of training and rides in the Pitts, and put a little Hero Cam in the front for great videos of people grinning and straining.
At the Michigan Aerobatic Open in Jackson we were approached by community representatives who wanted to take this special event and make it more of a community weekend. Turns out we are one of the best kept secrets in Michigan, and that's a common problem with IAC events. We aren't there for spectators, so we don't advertise a lot and we stay very busy keeping the contest running and don't really have much time or help to deal with a lot of folks watching or asking questions - though we really should be taking care of that angle also.
I put up a PA at the last contest and immediately had many watchers-by suddenly captivated by what was going on. A little explanation can turn a non-airshow, somewhat repetitiousness set of flying routines into an interesting event to watch as a spectator - at least for a while. The city representatives would like to combine this with other on-site activities to make it a fun day out for locals. The airport has been looking to sponsor events that would get the public out to the airport more also. We are the only IAC sanctioned competition in Michigan each year and have a contestant group from many states and Canada, so it really is pretty special.
We need a name for the event. High Over Jackson was suggested but immediately got many colorful comments about the physical state of the participants, as one could imagine. What do you call an event at the airport that centers around the Michigan Aerobatic Open but includes a car show, military aircraft displays, seminars and discovery flights with the local college flight school (Jackson Community College), a banquet with a group of former astronaut guest speakers (one of whom competes with us), kids activities and EAA aircraft displays and explanations, a fly-in and watch event (with food), a trip to a local winery (with a grass strip mind you), etc. etc. - the community folks are doing a great job of coming up with options and activities. Oh yes - and that includes sponsorship for the Open. Very helpful.
Hold on tight. This next year is promising to be amazing.