Are you a survivor?

The better you plan, the better your day will be at a fly-in.

Follow these simple guidelines to enhance your air show experience:


A good pair of walking shoes is a must. You will spend a lot of time walking on asphalt, so make sure your insoles are in good condition. Socks should be worn to avoid blisters.

Don’t forget sunglasses, preferably on a lanyard so they will stay around your neck.

A hat, also on a lanyard so it won’t go very far if blown off by prop wash or a stiff breeze, is another must-have item.

Wear comfortable clothing, preferably cotton. Dress in layers. Wear clothes you can get into and out of easily when nature calls (remember the limited space inside the Port-a-Potties).

Bring a lightweight rain poncho. Even if it doesn’t rain you can use it as a seat to avoid grass rash during air shows.

Earplugs for an air show are essential. Those jets are LOUD and can damage your hearing.

Don’t forget the sunblock. Apply it liberally and frequently. Try to use the highest protection factor you can find, such as sunblock designed for kids. Don’t forget to get the back of your neck, ears and backs of your legs.

Another must: Lip balm to protect from chapped lips.


If you carry a conventional backpack, wear it on both shoulders. Slinging it over one shoulder only invites back pain. Before you enter a Port-A-Potty, make sure all pockets are zipped closed and Velcroed shut. If the door has a hook on the inside, hang the pack on that while you answer the call of nature. Be careful about placing the pack on the floor or behind the seat.

When you exit the facility, double check that you have your belongings.

Limit the contents of your wallet to only what you need for that day, such as cash, identification and perhaps one credit card. Also limit the contents of your key ring. If you lose either of these items there will be less to replace.

Keep track of your cell phone – you wouldn’t believe how many people lose theirs at shows. Many people put them down at exhibitors’ booths while looking at items, so make sure you have yours before walking away.

Speaking of cell phones, put your number — and your name — on the back of belongings, such as cameras, video cameras and other belongings, so if something does get lost you’ll have a better chance of getting it back.


Get a map of the grounds. Note where the First Aid and Lost and Found are in the event you need them. If you’re in a group, set up a meeting place and time so everyone can go their separate ways if they want. It’s also wise to point out to children a “safe” place to go if they get separated from their parents. Make sure all the children know your cell phone number so you can be contacted immediately if they get lost.

Visit the exhibits in the hangars early in the day, since the temperature in the buildings rises rapidly and is usually 10° hotter than outside.

Plan your visit to the flight line well before the air show.

Do your shopping later in the day and think carefully before buying an item. Whatever you buy you will have to carry. Also, if you flew in, don’t forget that the weight of new purchases will have to be included in your weight and balance before leaving the air show.

Try to avoid walking and talking on your cell phone at the same time. Your lack of attention could put you in the path of a golf cart, another pedestrian or a taxiing airplane.

Rest in the shade when the sun is at its zenith. Do not forget to stretch your legs.

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Try to avoid sugary drinks as they increase your thirst.

Carry a small first aid kit. It should contain aspirin or Ibuprofen, Band-Aids, tissues, anti-diarrhea medicine, antacid and hand cleaner. Moist towelettes also are useful.

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