Rich and Dee Gibson are the 2011 recipients of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship. The award will be presented during EAA AirVenture 2011 at EAA’s Theater in the Woods on Monday, July 25.
Rich and Dee travel all over the world “blowing things up.” Both received formal training with explosives in the United States Army. Rich served a tour in Vietnam, putting his skills to work with the 101st Airborne Division. Dee, a retired Army Major, helped blast rock in Honduras while building roads between small villages. Together they formed Rich’s Incredible Pyro to provide airshows and other events with pyrotechnic expertise.
Using a carefully controlled mixture of dynamite, gasoline, and other explosives, Rich, Dee, and their crew create special effects to simulate an air attack on an airfield. They work closely with pilots, airfield officials, airboss, and announcer to choreograph a realistic bombing display. Their trademark is a massive “Wall-of-Fire” that has become the standard by which all others are measured, according to officials.
For 30 years, Rich owned and operated an air taxi business, flying everything from J-3 Piper Cubs to Falcon jets for the U.S. government and private industry. He has accumulated over 10,000 hours of flight time. Dee has also enjoyed flying small aircraft, and they met while skydiving.
The Bill Barber Award for Showmanship began in 1986, and goes to airshow performers or teams that have demonstrated great skill and showmanship. World Airshow News and the friends and family of the late Bill Barber present the award annually. To submit a nomination for the 2012 award go to AirShowMag.com