Sequestration: Where the bullet meets the bone.
While this may seem like the end of the world, it is nothing of the sort. Now hear me out on this. I’m not talking from the hope and moon pony’s camp. I’m coming to you live from the inside of the air show equivalence of Zombiegeddon.
A reality check of the industry will validate that there are probably only a handful of air show performers on the circuit who actually earn a living doing shows. For some, it’s a break even venture but for most it’s a lost leader. The industry has always been full of the “I’ll do it cheaper because I want people to love me” bleeps that make earning a living next to impossible in any walk of life. The industry has done nothing to address this by calling it the free market. So be it. It has only led to the degradation of a quality product but we do love us some Walmart bleep, don’t we?
For the guys and gals out there who blazed the trail with sponsorship deals, this will indeed hurt both our industry’s credibility and their individual livelihoods but when you build an industry platform based on the premise of free stuff instead of sustainability, you can expect exactly what is happening because free stuff is, at best, unpredictable. Our failing was in not recognizing and addressing the situation much earlier. No one is to blame for our fiscal dependence on the military save ourselves. We were never entitled to it to begin with.
I’m hearing rumours of performers and service suppliers throwing themselves at a shrinking number of shows, way under market value since sequestration has come into effect. I sustain that this is merely another day at the office as exercised by the same above referred to bleeps. In other words…seems like more of the same to me.
There simply comes a time when you need to cut expenses and get your spending back under control. I personally did it last year. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t like it. It was downright humiliating but you know what? My aircraft is paid off and I can meet my fiscal obligations now. It’s called being responsible and sometimes…you just have to do it…. no matter how much it bites. As we speak, every military demo out there is being paid for by money that is borrowed from China. I for one would rather go without my entire industry than live with that knowledge.
Air shows may be different for a while. Heck; they may disappear altogether for a while but at the end of the day, the future will only bring something better because it will be ours: Paid for and debt free. I’m building it as we speak. My friends are building it as well. When the time is right, the military will rejoin us. This is where the bullet meets the bone. It’s going to hurt but it’s not like it’s a vital organ or anything.
The military has enough to deal with right now without all the incessant whining and finger pointing. It’s time for us to act like the patriots that we claim to be and to start reciprocating all the support that we have received from them in the past. Each man and woman in service has been willing to sacrifice their lives for my freedom and in return, performers risk ours for the success of their open houses. It’s time to remember that bond and to start acting with the integrity that such a bond demands.
Strive for it!