Airshows are a great day out for individuals and families. They can be enjoyed by anyone from aviation enthusiasts to those who may not a first consider themselves interested in aircraft, but who enjoy the spectacle and the occasion. With that in mind here are 5 essential tips for enjoying airshows that will help you to make the most of the day, whether it’s a big international show or a smaller event on a grass airfield.
Obviously the size of the airshow is a big factor that determines many things, not just the size of the queues for the loos. So keep that in mind when planning your day out.
Parents who have experience of any kind of outdoor event involving their children will probably be familiar with most of what comes next, but check through anyway as there may be one or two things you haven’t considered.
The airshow season in the UK is from spring to autumn, so there’s bound to be a wide variety of weather and some events can be cool to say the least. Airfields tend to be wide open spaces exposed to the elements!
As the day approaches keep an eye on the weather and check it again on the morning you leave for the show. Don’t rely just on the main TV news for this as the weather at the airfield may by very different from the regional forecast. There are plenty of fairly accurate apps for this, like WeatherPro which comes with a free and a paid version.
Airshows are rarely cancelled due to adverse weather, but it would be shame to make the journey only to find that it had been called off and you neglected to check before leaving.
Once you know what the temperature is likely to be you can choose appropriate clothing and footwear. Your enjoyment of the show is going to diminish rapidly if you get cold waiting to watch pilots put on a display.
It’s highly likely that you’re going to be standing on grass, whatever the size of the airfield. If there has been any recent rain you will notice the damp. If you don’t plan on bringing any folding chairs then a thick picnic rug is a good alternative.
If there’s going to be any sun remember to bring the sun cream. Every year thousands of people return from airshows with sun burnt faces and necks because they’ve spent several hours staring up a the sky and forgot to put on some protection.
Essentials: hat, sun cream, sun glasses, umbrella (for shade, as well as rain)
It is an unfortunate fact of life that the catering at outdoor events tends to be overpriced, but it is convenient and there’s usually a fairly good variety. The other disadvantage is that you have to queue for it, so sometimes it pays to get an early lunch and avoid peak times.
The obvious alternative is to bring your own, but that means you have to prepare it and carry it to wherever you intend to sit. That might be quite a long way from the car park, so a rucksack or trolley might be the answer if you have a large party of adults and children.
The loos are better than they used to be, but they can still be unhygienic due to constant use. Wash your hands thoroughly and consider bringing your own hand sanitizer or anti bacterial wet-wipes.
Again, forward planning is important if you are to reduce the stress levels and make the day go smoothly. It may be tempting to pile everyone and everything into the family car and set off, but sometimes travelling light and going by public transport is the better option.
The Farnborough International Airshow (held once every two years) is one example where travelling by train might be better. In 2016 there was a two hour wait for people trying to leave the main car park after the event on the Saturday. Meanwhile, those who travelled by train simply boarded a free shuttle bus to the train station.
However, public transport will not always be an option and you’ll need to make your own way there. If you end up parking in a large field, check your location before leaving the vehicle i.e. remember where you parked! There’s nothing more annoying than trying to find the car when all you want to do is get in and get home.
However, taking pictures at airshows is something everyone can have a go at and it can be easy to take some good shots for the album or to share on social media.
Your phone or tablet is probably best for taking still images of the static display of aircraft and varies other activities around the site. Without a zoom lens you’re unlikely to get a good picture of aircraft in flight.
On the other hand you can film the displays on your camera and by so doing capture the sound of a Rolls Royce Merlin engine or some other dramatic engine noise.
Finally, a word about safety. Crashes at airshows are extremely rare, but when they do happen the effects tend to be dramatic and consequently they make a lot of headlines. Statistically speaking you’re probably safer at the show itself than you are on the journey to it. The aviation authorities and the airshow organisers take every precaution they can to keep you safe, and crowds continue to flock to all sizes of shows throughout the year.
To find out more about airshows and to choose your next one search online for one of the many sites that list them each year, like Flightline UK.
The majority of new aviation businesses will at some point consider what presence they need to have online. They will start with a website and then ask themselves the question should we use social media? Is it right for our business?
The answer to this question will depend on several things. There are plenty of aviation businesses that have no need of social media and many that don’t even have a website.
If your already have a lot of clients and your order book is filled with repeat orders from that client base then time, effort, and money spent on a website might be wasted. Similarly, marketing through social media will be low on your list of priorities.
On the other hand, you can achieve all your goals with just one social media account and a very basic brochure style website.
If you are to realise your long term business goals you may need to lay some foundations now. Creating a website and making your mark in the world of social media may not pay any dividends in the short term, but further down the line you may wish you’d started earlier if you delay the entry into cyberspace.
If you’re in the aerial photography business a website, Instagram, Flickr, Vimeo, or YouTube account is the obvious place in which to showcase your completed projects.
Videos in particular are seen very favourably by Google in SEO terms. An active YouTube channel is a big plus, but SEO benefits are engineered by paying particular attention to the title, description, tags, and even the thumbnail.
You may have created a superb video with excellent editing and accompanying music, but if you haven’t given attention to the way the video is listed in YouTube then you may be missing a lot of traffic.
Sharing your work on social media can expand your brand and attract potential leads. If you niche is aerial photography and perhaps Lidar then you might want to share you work with appropriate hashtags in order to draw the attention of prospective clients.
It’s worth doing a little research before choosing the right hashtags. If you want to attract the attention of decision makers in certain geographic areas then the choice of hashtag is of paramount importance. Quantity is important too. 1-3 hashtags is about right, but more than four can seem like a confusing message.
With your carefully crafted aerial photography video uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo you can share this on Facebook, Twitter, and your LinkedIn company page using your choice of hashtags. If it’s of sufficient quality and interest viewers will also share it, but you have no control over which hashtags they will use.
It costs nothing to open a YouTube account and you can quickly learn now to upload your choice videos as each is completed.
If your videos are of interest to the many millions of viewers with an insatiable appetite for new material then your video may well become a source of passive income through advertising.
Monetising videos in this way is easily done provided that the images, video, and music used is licensed correctly. It’s simply a matter of managing your YouTube account settings for each video submitted.
Anyone can learn to do all of this, given enough time, but if your time is already filled with other tasks why not let someone who has already learned the ropes do it for you.
Contact me to discuss how we can make best use of YouTube and other social media accounts to showcase your work and attract new clients.