Changes necessary to survive
That's according to Air Fiesta chairman David Hughston, who said this year's event, which took place in March, had little left over after the bills were paid. He blames it on a smaller than normal crowd combined with a relatively expensive roster of performers.
"The last piece of the puzzle was the prop," Hughston said. "Our part of it was $1,500. But we're in a position now where we can't start any new projects."
"We didn't do very well on the air show this year," he said. "We ended up in the black, but not nearly enough. We made $10,000."
The organization wants to lure more events, such as a recent United Way fundraiser, "Come Fly With Me," which attracted just the kinds of folks Hughston hopes to get interested in all things CAF and Air Fiesta.
Hughston said the Brownsville airport's general aviation servicers are growing, which is a good thing, though they'll eventually squeeze out the CAF.
The Commemorative Air Force Rio Grande Valley Wing, which puts on Air Fiesta every year, uses the proceeds to put on the following year's show, maintain its museum and keep its fleet of World War II era aircraft flying.
Hughston said the organization wants the city to build new digs for the CAF across the airport from its current location, off Boca Chica Boulevard where it will be Nike Air Max 95 Ultra Essential Trainers In Black
One new idea aimed at attracting a younger demographic is the "Jet Setters Club."
Larry Brown, aviation director at the airport, said moving the CAF to the north side of the airport would free up the space for commercial use a good thing for the airport in terms of economic development.
The wing will host on open house on Nov. 2, he said. As for the air show, Air Fiesta 2014 will be heavy on aerobatics, with the AeroShell precision flying team returning for the first time since 2010. Hughston said he's looking for a $15,000 sponsorship for the act.
"Fortunately we have a good relationship with Southmost (Aviation), and they let us take up some of their space down there when we do the air show," he said. "But that's not going to last forever, and they want to build another hangar because they're full."
"Our location's horrible," he said. "You've got to want to come here. You've got to make a conscious decision to come find the CAF. We should have been over there on Boca Chica, and we've been trying to get moved over there ever since."
Depending on the level of Air Fiesta 2014's corporate sponsorship, tickets might be cheaper next year, he said, speculating that higher ticket prices were one reason people stayed away this year.
Hughston concedes that private sponsorship in general is something that Air Fiesta should probably be pursuing more aggressively.
"We're going to try to do something different because what we're doing ain't working," Hughston said.
The local wing got help with the project in the form of a 50/50 match from CAF's national headquarters, otherwise it might not have happened at all.
"What we've decided to do is change our approach," Hughston said. "We're going to do the show a week before Charro Days instead of after Charro Days. We'll get in ahead of the (Rio Grande Valley) livestock show, ahead of spring break, ahead of all this stuff."
He noted that the terminal is also slated for expansion, and said relocating the CAF "fits right in with our overall plans." Brown agreed that leasing the CAF hangar could provide some revenue for a new complex.
"Our sponsors have been very loyal, but we need more of them," he said. "Every nonprofit has their hand out, and there are lots of worthy causes."
The CAF is also rethinking its marketing strategy. Air Fiesta's next marketing push will try to reach more people especially more young people, he said.
in full view of the motoring public as opposed to tucked away out of sight.
"For $250 a couple, you get two parties a year, including VIP Nike Air Max 2011 tickets to the air show, parking and all the stuff that goes with it," Hughston said. "We're going to be rolling that out this year."
Kyle Franklin, whose wife, Amanda, died as a result of injuries from Nike Air Max 95 Prm Denim
Also, greater numbers of Winter Texans are around in February, and Daylight Air Max 85
One thing that's always worked against the RGV wing is its lack of visibility except during Air Fiesta, Hughston said. The CAF building, 955 S. Minnesota Ave., is well hidden, which brings up the other major piece of CAF's plan for long term viability: new headquarters.
For instance, a seven year restoration of the wing's rare Fleet "Finch" a vintage biplane trainer built in Canada was recently completed and the aircraft returned to its home in the CAF hangar at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport.
The RGV Wing was created after the CAF which stood for "Confederate Air Force" until 2002 pulled its national headquarters out of Harlingen and relocated to Midland in 1991.
Both Southmost and Hunt Pan Am are interested in leasing CAF's current building if it becomes available, Hughston said, noting that he's got letters of interest from both parties. Rent from the building and hangar, which is city owned, could help finance a new complex, Hughston said.
Savings Time won't have kicked in yet, he said.
The minimum cost of keeping the planes in the air, not counting special projects like the Fleet restoration, is between $25,000 and $30,000, he said. The wing is exploring different fundraising ideas and ways to get more people to next year's Air Fiesta, which will take place Feb. 22 23 rather than in March.
a crash landing at Air Fiesta 2011, will return in 2014 with a new airplane. Matt Younkin, Amanda's brother, will be back with his aerobatic twin engine Beechcraft.
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