Airshows - Ground Operations Plans

Airshow Coordination

Airshows at any airport require a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (FAA Form 7711-1) that has been approved and issued by the appropriate FAA Flight Standards District Office.

Flight Standards, however, will not issue a Certificate or Waiver or Authorization to airports certificated under 14 CFR Part 139 until the FAA Regional Airports Division has reviewed and concurred with the airshow event Ground Operations Plan.

The plan must address the Part 139-related requirements impacted by the airshow and be approved by an airport certification inspector. Unless temporary arresting gear needs to be installed for military fight demonstrations, this requirement should have minimal impact on airport operators. Once the Ground Operations Plan is approved, the airport certification inspector will send a letter to the airport operator and notify the appropriate Flight Standards District Office.

Airshow Ground Operations Plan Guidelines

The Ground Operations Plan must address at least the following Part 139 issues related to the airshow:

Airline Operations

  • Include procedures for commercial operations during airshow activities or setup (special taxi routes, access to terminal gates, crowd control).

Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Capability and Special Emergency Response Procedures

  • If necessary, indicate pre-positioning of ARFF vehicles during airshow activities to maintain ARFF Index and response requirements. Identify emergency access routes around the crowd area.
  • Identify additional ARFF personnel required during the airshow activities and address other duties assigned to ARFF personnel.
  • Indicate if hazardous materials procedures and training is needed for emergency response personnel related to the airshow (hydrazine, LOX, smoke, etc).
  • Describe any special emergency procedures established for the airshow that are not addressed in the Airport Emergency Plan.

Temporary Arresting Gear Installed in a Runway Safety Area

  • If temporary arresting systems are to be installed in a runway safety area, the threshold will need to be relocated to provide 1,000 feet of safety area past the arresting gear if the runway is to remain open. The temporary arresting gear is normally in place 4-5 days. During this period the relocated threshold will need to be marked and lighted in the following manner:
    • Mark the threshold bar with plywood sheets painted white and anchored in the grass with spikes on each side of the relocated threshold. Six sheets of plywood placed side by side are needed on each side to provide an 8-foot by 24-foot threshold bar on each side.
    • Install yellow painted chevron made from plywood sheets before the threshold bars on each side. Each chevron will consist of three 4-foot by 8-foot sheets of plywood with one sheet cut diagonal in half to form the point of the chevron. The chevrons will also need to be anchored to the ground with spikes.
    • Cover runway distance to go signs for the opposite direction from the relocated threshold.
    • Place any PAPIs, VASI, REILs, or approach light systems for the relocated end out of service.
    • If night operations will be conducted on the runway, install threshold/runway end lights at the relocated threshold.
    • Adjust t he runway edge lights for the 2,000 foot amber caution zone for the opposite direction for the relocated threshold.
    • Place runway centerline lights for the opposite direction out of service.
    • Cover or place out of service the runway edge lights and threshold/runway edge lights in the relocated area. If the 1,000 foot relocated area will be used for taxiing operations at night, taxiway reflectors will need to be installed.
    • If the 1,000 foot safety area between the relocated threshold and arresting gear will be used for takeoff only, contact the Regional Airports Division to coordinate implementing declared distance.

Integrity of Runway Safety Areas, Taxiway Safety Areas, Object Free Areas

  • Describe the Military Flight Demonstration Team centroid placement to mark the aiming point for aerial demonstrations. Describe what will be used, where will it be located, and during what period will it be in place. Indicate locations on a map.
  • Will airport maintenance personnel and equipment be available to restore safety areas damaged by airshow activities?

Pyrotechnic Devices

  • Describe the location and placement of pyrotechnic devices and the safety of planned operations. Indicate locations on a map.
  • Will special procedures be in place to provide public protection of the crowd prior to and during detonation?
  • Will mutual aid fire departments be on the scene for fire protection during the detonation of pyrotechnics?

Temporary Closures of Runways and Taxiways

  • Will any runways or taxiways be closed and how will they be marked?

Movement Area Maintenance

  • Identify areas where aircraft or vehicles will be parked on the movement area or adjacent to the movement area. Describe barriers or procedures to keep personnel and vehicles clear of open movement areas.

Fueling Operations

  • Indicate on a map any special fueling areas during airshow activities.

Public Protection

  • Identify crowd areas on a map, and describe barricades, barriers, and procedures to be used to control the crowd.
  • Describe taxi routes for airshow aircraft in relation to the crowd location, and address any procedures that will be in effect for protection of jet blast.

Special Self-Inspections

  • Include procedures and identify personnel who will be responsible for safety inspections during and after airshow activities. List periods when safety inspections are planned to be conducted.

Air Show Ground Vehicle Operations

  • Describe procedures for escorting personnel on the movement area for airshow related activities.
  • Describe airshow related personnel who will be authorized to operate vehicles on the movement area or adjacent to open movement areas and the training program planned for those personnel.
  • Describe any special precautions or procedures that will be in place during airshow activities, including setup and takedown, to prevent runway incursions.

Impact to NAVAIDs

  • Indicate which NAVAIDs will be impacted by airshow activities and the personnel responsible for placing NAVAIDs out and in service.


  • Attach a copy of NOTAMs to be issued for the airshow.

Mitigation of Wildlife Hazards

  • Describe any special wildlife hazard mitigation procedures that will be in place for the airshow

Planning Tools

Last updated: Monday, November 14, 2022