In the first two parts of our mini-series, we wrote about the work that’s need to get the aeroplanes ready for a busy season, as well what our pilots need to do to be legal and safe to fly. Well what about everything else? We call it “team prep”, but that covers such a wide range of items. Read about some of them below…
As a member of the British Air Display Association, Wildcat always attends the post and pre-season display symposiums and this year is no different. The primary aim of the pre-season symposium, held in early February, is to assure and promote Air Safety across the flying display community and to encourage discussion in preparation for the forthcoming season. The conference includes military and civilian delegates from across the UK flying display community consisting of display pilots, display directors, airshow organizers and aviation safety regulators as well as various industry representatives. Although the conference is a good opportunity to hear the latest updates or regulation changes from the CAA, a side attraction is the chance to meet with the other display pilots and catch up on all the gossip over a few ninnies at the end of the day!
There isn’t really any sort of recognised formal process for obtaining airshow bookings, so around this time of year we take a look at the British Airshows website – to see who are planning to hold air displays – and make contact with the event organizers, or their nominated Flying Display Director, to explore the potential for Wildcat’s involvement in their show and discuss the associated costs. This year we are aiming to perform around 25 displays throughout the summer at a range of events ranging from private weddings to public events such as town shows and fetes, where we might be the only display act, right up to large scale international airshows with a full repertoire of military and civilian air display acts. We’ll keep you updated on our 2016 display schedule via social media as it develops.
If you are organising an event that would benefit from the added WOW factor of a Wildcat Aerobatics air display, please get in contact with us and we’d be happy to discuss your requiements.
We have just released the 2016 Wildcat Calendar and will shortly be looking at what other promotional material we are going to produce as give-aways when we meet spectators and supporters at the airshows we land at. We are always on the look out for something that is fun and representative of what we do, so please drop us an email if you have something in mind.
We really appreciate the following we have on our social media outlets and are amazed at the level of interest there is in Wildcat. Our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts continue to grow and go from strength to strength so make sure you are following us if you want to keep abreast of latest team developments and access the amazing photos and video that our loyal supporters share online.
The Wildcat Web-meister Ed, has been busy with behind the scenes work to improve our website’s resilience and make sure that it can cope with the incredible levels of traffic we are experiencing. In 2015, we had over 2 million hits which, at times, put significant strain on our servers; hopefully, we are now well placed to deal with whatever 2016 has to throw at us cyberspace-wise! We have some exciting new content in the coming months, when we’ll be launching the Wildcat Cubs Club this year as a way of engaging with our younger fan-base; we’ll keep you posted on developments as they happen!
Running an aerobatic display team is not a low-cost undertaking and we are always on the lookout for potential sponsorship opportunities. We are very grateful to all of our current partners and supporters for their help and support. If you are interested in exploring options for how Wildcat Aerobatics could make a unique and exciting contribution to marketing your brand or product, get in touch and we’d be delighted to talk with you.
The last element of our pre-season preparations is normally the airstrip at Wildcat HQ in South Norfolk. We operate from a grass airstrip and during the winter months the weather often means that the ground is too soft to operate our Pitts Specials without risk of damage to the aircraft and/or the landing surface.
Although this year Norfolk has had a pretty benign winter — so far! — the airstrip is still a bit on the soggy side and still unusable. However, airfield preparations are now underway and, weather permitting, we are aiming to start operating in mid March.
Once the stars are finally aligned and the airfield, aircraft and pilots are ready to go, the team will start the display season with individual shakedown flights to airtest the aircraft and blow away the winter cobwebs before starting the pre-season display workup proper. Given the great response we received last season, we’re going to try and VLOG more frequently this summer so watch out for a new insight into our display workup (there will be good and bad days!) over the coming weeks and months.
Finally, we understand the six-part BBC television documentary series “The Skies Over Britain” that we were involved in the last season has been signed off by the series commissioners and is expected to be broadcast on BBC2 in the next month or so. We’ll let you know more details as we hear them.
Thank you for your continued support, we really appreciate it – always.