|Airshow performers readily admit fully half of their
presentation is dependent on the narrator, and the narrator is fully dependent
on the airshow sound system.
It simply follows that even with a good announcer a show with
an inadequate sound system loses 50% of the entertainment value of the event.
safety factor and the fact that most events promise their
X number of promotional PA announcements that must be heard the importance of a
good sound system is readily apparent.
offers each airshow a
custom designed and/or configured sound system specifically tailored for that airshow's unique
spectator area configuration.
Some events have shallow spectator areas while others require
the sound to be "thrown" long distances; some areas are long while
others are pie shaped or have a "bent" crowd line. Each of these
configurations offers the sound engineer different challenges in providing good
sound coverage (see Case Study below).
Pro airSHOW does not try to make "one-size-fits-all"
simply rely on excess power to "blast" the sound at your spectators. (See
Hearing is Priceless How Loud is Too
airSHOW Sound does is "fly" the speakers. That's a Sound Tech term for
mounting the speaker high or "flying them over the audience."
Pro airSHOW speakers are mounted above the spectators'
heads, a minimum of 10 feet Above Ground Level (AGL), . With the central
axis of the speakers projecting above the audience heads, the sound is not
attenuated by the very persons you're trying to reach AND those on the front row
do not have their
ears pinned back by the high
Sound Pressure Levels (SPL)
generated by modern audio speakers.
For maximum "throw" we mount the speaker
arrays up to 60 feet AGL. This keeps the SPL's at acceptable levels on the
crowd line while projecting the sound far back into the spectator area without
exposing the public to hazardous equipment as would be necessary with a
second line of speakers.
A good example of this configuration is a football stadium
with the speaker array mounted atop the scoreboard.
In situations where the spectator area
is not as deep, a vertical array can be utilized for increased fidelity and the
speakers need not to be flown as high.
As can be seen by these photographs, construction lifts have
proven effective when flying the speaker arrays. The mobility and
adjustability for the lifts offers the flexibility needed in the airshow
environment; the lifts are easily moved into position and can be lowered and/or
moved quickly after the show to return the airport to normal operational
This final pictures displays how different speaker
configurations can be used to maximize the sound projection over a wide area
while still offering a comfortable SPL in the VIP/Sponsor chalet area:
Note the additional flown speaker array beyond the VIP/Sponsor
Chalet row with small, low volume (SPL) "fill" speaker directly in front of the
chalets (marked by the orange cones). This configuration provided the
chalets with PA coverage that still allowed normal conversation in the chalets.
can serve small to
medium size audiences (50K+/-) with our in-house sound systems. For larger events or
those with special needs, we contract with the leading Pro Sound contractors
around the country.
Alternately, we will work with your sound contractor to ensure
quality sound coverage for your event: after all, without a good sound system
Additional Examples of Speaker Tower
Arrangement Utilizing "Scissors Lift" Construction Equipment:
Smith Reynolds Airport, at Winston-Salem NC, presented Pro
airSHOW's sound engineers with a difficult sound coverage problem.
Due to the operational needs of the airport the spectator area
for this airshow is "L" shaped with a long "bent" crowd line. The Crowd Line
parallels the show line for only 875 ft. then bends back 24 degrees and
continues another 1,400 ft., terminating at the airport terminal building.
This configuration results in a spectator area
1,800 feet deep from the forward crowd line, through the static display area, to
the Helicopter ride area where Otto was hard at work.
The traditional method of stringing speakers
along the crowd line was only effective in the arm of the "L" where the
spectator area was fairly shallow. A secondary lines was installed to aid
in covering the very deep (over 1/3 of a mile) static display area. This
proved inadequate due to: 1, the distance, 2, the secondary speakers being
objectionably loud and obtrusive when trying to cover the vast distance from
within the spectator area, 3, the complexity of installation and danger to the
spectators from the speakers and associated equipment.
The solution was to string speakers, in the
traditional method, along the short arm of the "L," then locate a 60 foot tall
speaker lift across the active taxiway. This "tower" utilized 15 ea. 80
watt horns (1200 watts of audio) with the axis of the speakers aimed to cover
the remaining spectator area.
The speaker tower/lift was located 825 ft. from
the Crowd Line. This distance, coupled with the 60 ft. height, kept the 1200
watt SPL at a tolerable level for the spectators lining the "bent" portion of the
Crowd Line. While the 60 ft. height also permitted the sound to be thrown
1,744 ft. to the back of the Spectator Area and still be intelligible for those
persons walking in that area.
(Note: As the speaker tower/lift was not lighted,
it was lowered each evening so as not to present a hazard to night flight operations.)
This Case Study presents an innovative solution
to the recurring problem of adequate sound coverage at airshows. This same
approach has proven effective in Columbus GA and at the Boshears Airshow at
Daniel Field in Augusta GA.
The use of construction lifts is a cost effective
and safe method to project sound across long distances, providing your
spectators and corporate sponsors with their money's worth.
Additional application information: contact Hugh Oldham at
Mail to Hugh or 864-226-3489