Friday, December 22, 2006

Crash and Burn

WMAY is reporting that Air Rendezvous has been cancelled for next year and very possibly forever.
Springfield's long-running air show, Air Rendezvous, will apparently not be held in 2007. A statement from air show organizers says rising costs and declining attendance forced the decision. Kim Curry, the director of the show, says Air Rendezvous is still in the black, but in order to be good stewards of the show's finances, the decision was made not to hold it next year.
Their on-air report indicates the event was also becoming more expensive to put on (insurance was cited). That, combined with the declining attendance and lack of a notable headline act, means that the air show was going to be in some trouble in 2007. Based on that, the decision to cancel is understandable.

But it still sucks.

As an avid attendee of AR every year, it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by me that the event has been in decline for years. Lack of acts, fewer and fewer planes in the static display, the introduction of fucking dodge ball fer crissake, were all signs of an event in trouble.

The crowds were getting thinner and thinner partly due to the declining quality of the show and partly, I think, because the novelty had worn off a bit. Maybe AR can be revived in a few years as absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Until then, I’ll remember some of the cool things I experienced over the years:

Seeing the stealth fighter land at Capital Airport for the first time in 1990 (give or take a year). This actually happened a day or two before the air show but a lot of us went out to see the event anyway.

Taking a ride on a replica of a 1930s era Ford Tri-Motor in 1997.

Watching the Stealth Bomber do a fly over. Now THAT’S amazing.

Having a cold, cold Bud on a hot, hot July afternoon while arial acrobatics took place overhead. I don’t know why but those ordinary domestic beers tasted damn good in that sweltering heat.

Taking my first (and only) helicopter ride.

The night take-off of a JATO C-130

The Hanger Party, especially when F-5 had that other singer and before they started doing rap. Oh, and the studly men in thier flight suits and the women who wanted to eat them up.

One word: Harrier

Seeing a P-38 in flight a couple of years ago.

Even the silly “recreation” of the Ploesti Raid in one of the shows from around 1990 featured several WWII bombers in action together. Something I many never see again.

And, of course, the Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Let’s hope the era of the smaller local air show isn’t coming to an end but it may be. In the meantime, I’m going to have to accelerate my plans for heading up to Oshkosh.

Update: SJ-R story here.

1 comment:

JeromeProphet said...

Excellent post.