Many of us will have been to one of Duxford’s superb air shows, but how many have considered what goes on behind the scenes to prepare for such a great day’s enjoyment?
Let's take a brief look at DAS involvement in one of these big events. Bear in mind that all this happens three times a year with two-day shows in May, July and September. Several months before the event, the organisers, usually IWM or the Fighter Collection, release the dates for their events. With these in mind, planning from a DAS point of view can start.
The first thing is to share out the tasks among our volunteer workforce. All the aircraft custodians are made aware of the dates by the steward co-ordinator. Now they can begin to rally their troops to act as stewards making sure there aresufficient numbers to allow for breaks during the day. DAS also provides staff to act as flight line stewards. Our friends at the Military Vehicle Wing start to prepare their armoured personnel carriers in readiness for the military vehicle rides they'll offer on the day.
DAS volunteers working on the British Airliner Collection will be striving to finish off all the jobs that need doing to make the aeroplanes and their displays look their best for the visitors. Some of the aircraft, such as the Britannia, benefit from regular groups who do as much work as possible to keep their aircraft in tip top condition. They put in extra effort for every show.
A large part of our funding comes from air shows. Tickets for military vehicle rides, boarding passes to visit the airliners and sales from our bookshop and memorabilia stand are all important sources of revenue, so every effort is made to ensure the event is a success.
All this takes time to organise and prepare and as the event draws nearer the pace picks up. Books are brought out of the storeroom, priced and placed on shelves ready for display in our sales tent. The shop is stocked and items of memorabilia are prepared for sale.
Tickets and passes will be needed for all the working volunteers as well as those who are just attending to watch the show. That's another piece of plate-spinning for the DAS office. The Treasurer arranges for airliner brochures and a cash float for each aircraft. Volunteers are rostered for the shop and sales tent to ensure they're manned at all times by at least two people. The outside sales tent is brought out of storage and erected a few days before the event ready to be stocked with goodies for sale.