World Airshow News        

A Clinical Explanation and Treatment of  “Pre-Show Mode”


By Professor Sigmund Von Oldham, PHD (Pilled Higher & Deeper)


By Hugh Oldham

World Airshow News, June/July 1997


A review of the airshow community has reviled a preponderance of “Pre-Show Mode” activity by some professional and volunteer airshow personnel.


With the possible exception of Airshow Induced Divorce Syndrome (AIDS), Pre-Show Mode activity is the leading cause of friction within an airshow organization and in increased consumption of Attitude Adjustment Fluids during the days leading up to an airshow.


Research, conducted in a mirror, has proven Pre-Show Mode is a closed loop syndrome which is manifested when highly motivated individuals with intense mission focus, target fixation and goal orientation fail to recognize such concentration results in reduced interpersonal skills, therefore degrading the attainment of the very goals envisioned.  Persons in Pre-Show Mode are normally refereed to by their peers and subordinates as Alpha Hotels.


Treatment can require extensive counseling and, in extreme cases, the use of a cattle prod has proven effective.  In less severe cases, the patient can simply acknowledge his pre-disposition to enter Pre-Show Mode and make allowances for his Type A personality.


 “I think it is important for a boss to be frank about his temperament and work habits so that people working for him have a chance to understand and adjust.  I warned the staff that when I am preoccupied, I can be short-tempered over interruptions or questions.  In high-pressure situations, I tend to snap into a single-minded mode.  I  become intense, focused, oblivious of the world around me.  On those days, I might walk into the office without so much as a hello.  If my executive officer brought me some issue not immediately relevant, I might growl and tell him to keep out of my way.  I advised the staff not to overreact to these mood swings.  Ride them out, and I would soon be back on an even keel.”  Colin Powell, My American Journey.


As one who suffers from cattle prod level Pre-Show Mode syndrome, I have found Colin Powell’s Rules to be effective:


1.     It ain’t as bad as you think.  It will look better in the morning

2.     Get mad, then get over it.

3.     Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

4.     It can be done!

5.     Be careful what you chose.  You may get it.

6.     Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

7.     You can’t make someone else’s choices.  You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.

8.     Check small things.

9.     Share credit.

10. Remain calm.  Be kind.

11. Have vision.  Be demanding.

12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.


Running or performing in an airshow is complex, demanding, and high pressure undertaking.  The stakes are high.  Beware of Pre-Show Mode!  Make allowances and remember to maintain focus on our collective goals.