Dave Dacy is a Commercial Rated Pilot, A&P with Inspection Authorization, Mechanic, and ICAS ACE. His interest in aviation began immediately in life, being raised on the family airport in Harvard, IL. where many of the Airshow Greats would come through enroute to shows, and later the home for the first of the EAA sponsored Aerobatic Contests that brough aviation and airshow legends and Hall of Famers including Art Schol, Marion Cole, Frank Price, and Gene Soucy to his backyard! With his strong background in aviation and aerobatics in particular, Dave soon embarked on Airshow Career, with his first public displays in 1974. He started his Airshow Career flying historic aircraft such as the Bucker Jungmeister, Ryan STA Special, and for over 40 years thrilling airshow fans in variations of the Boeing Stearmans. Dave performed at Airshows throughout the entire Eastern half of North America from Billings, Montana to Homestead, Florida-during his career he performed as a Solo Performer, Formation Team Member, and Wingwalking Team Pilot. He dominated the midwest Airshow scene for decades, a regular at the mega shows like Chicago, Rockford, and Oshkosh to name a few, to the great small and Midsize shows and specialty events that form the background to our industry. Dave’s Airshow career took a major turn in 1991 when ICAS Hall of Fame Wingwalker, Johnny Kazian called him and asked him if he would be interested in working with him to provide their special brand of wingwalking to the industry. They practiced and prepared throughout the balance of the 1991 season, debuting their performance at the Newton, IA. show that September. Beginning in 1992 through the the 1996 season Dave & Johnny thrilled airshow fans from Chicago to Cleveland, Detroit, Wilkes Barre, to Miami and virtually everywhere in between. Prior to the 1997 season, Johnny decided he was at the point he should retire from the rigors of his freestyle Wingwalking and the position was turned over to the incredible stylings of Johnny’s son, Tony. Dave & Tony instantly bonded and their performances set the standard for freestyle wingwalking for the next 19 seasons! In addition to his duties of performing as the pilot for the Wingwalking shows, Dave also performed hundreds of displays as a solo aerobatic display pilot, often in multiple aircraft on the same day-he held Surface Letters of Competency in the Stearman (which he flew in all variations on the circuit: 220/300/450 HP, 2 Ailerons, 4 Ailerons, Gravity & Inverted Systems etc.) The Bucker Jungmeister, performing in both all original Siemens Halske 160 Radial version as well the Lycoming Model, The Great Lakes Biplane, and the Clipped Wing Taylorcraft. Dave was a firm believer in showmanship, knowing that this was our opportunity, which may not get a second chance at, to impress our attendees and fans with outstanding, safe airmanship. He knew we needed to entertain our crowd, amaze them with our skills and capabilities of the performers, but not scare them-knowing that an accident or major incident could have a devastating effect on so many people. He took this mindset into his role as a mentor and Aerobatic Competency Evaluator-impressing upon those he worked with that you had to have performance that was SAFE, Entertaining, and Consistently Repeatable.
Showmanship was always an integral part of a Dave Dacy Airshow, from his Signuture multiple (often over 10) Snap Rolls to Landing in the Jungmeister, Dave was known as alway us being directly at Airshow Center, not infringing upon the showline, keeping the action directly in front of the audience. An example of the showmanship was manifested in 2001, following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Dave & Tony wanted to do something special at those last shows of the 2001 season to recognize all of our American Heroes, so they put together a very dramatic ground show at the completion of each of their Wingwalking shows featuring Patriotic Music, Smoke, Patriotic Attire, and of course, Proudly Presenting Old Glory. This display was planned to be used only for the remainder of the 2001 season, but by popular demand from Airshow Producers, Fans and the Media it became a tradition that ran throughout the balance of their performing career. In addition to his committment to the Airshow Industry as a Pilot, Mentor and Evaluator, Dave also was involved in Dacy Airshows Team, which has supported the Airshow Industry for over thirty years providing everything from Airshow Performers, Air Boss Services, Airshow Sound Systems, Airshow Announcers, Military Coordination Services, and Consulting Services, truly, “From One Act to an Entire Show” Dave also has actively restored, rebuilt, modified, recovered, maintained hundreds of
Antique, Classic, Aerobatic, & Specialty Aircraft. Since his retirement as an active Airshow Performer after over 40 years of providing safe (no accidents/incidents/violations etc), entertaining performances Dave is kept busy operating his Aircraft Maintenance Business, Managing and keeping the Airport he has spent his entire life at looking great-Dave and family members Phil & Julia Dacy now own Dacy Airport in Northern Illinois and maintain the FAA Approved Aerobatic Box, which, by the way, through proper management and working well with neighbors, has now operated for over 30 years without a registered complaint on file! Dave Dacy is a worthy candidate to join the most esteemed members of the ICAS Foundation Hall of Fame, based upon a complete lifetime that has been centered on aviation with a strong emphasis on the Airshow Industry, 42 Years as a Performer with a spotless record, over 25 years as an ACE with not one performer he has evaluated being involved in an Accident or Incident and an ongoing committment of supporting the Industry.