Organizing an airshow is always a big job, but the folks working to put on the next Catalina Air Show, set for October 2016, face some extra challenges. The show is held on a small resort island, 26 miles off the coast of southern California, meaning any support gear that can’t be flown over has to come on the ferry. And the island’s only runway sits on a small mountain site, with steep drop-offs at both ends. To make the airshow work, the organizers have established the show box just offshore, above the harbor, well in sight of all the coastal restaurants, boaters, beachgoers and tourists. “That means our audience is not at the airport, but in the resort area at Avalon,” says Jeff Herold, who is heading up the show planning. “So we can’t charge admission to the show — we have to find other ways to make it work.”
Herold’s team took over the show last year from its prior organizers, and created a nonprofit group, the Catalina Island Aviation Foundation, to help raise funds for the show. Herold told AVweb he hopes the show will help to raise money to improve the airport, which is a private nonprofit field open to the public, and also to support the Catalina Island Conservancy’s efforts to protect the island’s population of bald eagles. “So all the money we can raise would go to things that fly,” Herold says. The group is looking for sponsors and also is developing a series of events that will be held concurrent with the show, including a rock concert, beer and wine tastings, and couples weekend packages, to help raise money and keep the show coming back year after year.
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