Richard E. “Rick” Grissom. Air show producer. Director. Mentor. Friend. Rick is all of these and more. He has been active in the air show industry for more than 45 years. He joined the International Council of Air Shows in 1970, becoming one of its first members. As one of the early leaders of the organization, he has made a significant and ongoing impact on the organization and on the air show industry, helping determine and maintain its basic standards and ideals.
Rick was first elected to the ICAS board of directors in 1973 and served as its president from 1980 to 1984. In recognition of his outstanding service and personal contributions, the Inter-national Council of Air Shows awarded him its Sword of Excellence in 1991. As one of only forty-one individuals so recognized, he well deserved this “single highest honor” given to an air show professional. He has also served as chair of the ICAS Foundation and member and chair of many ICAS committees. He began flying in 1968 and holds a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating in single and multiengine aircraft.
Throughout his career, Rick’s influence has extended beyond the borders of the United States. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds made him a member of the Society of Honorary Snowbirds in recognition of his “unwavering, wholehearted, selfless, and enduring commitment to the team and its mission.” Back home he is one of the few people not employed by the Federal Aviation Administration to serve as the FAA monitor at a Blue Angels air show.
Rick Grissom is a man who has done it all to make air shows successful. As president of Aerial Entertainment Resources, he has produced, promoted, or consulted on more than 100 major air shows featuring military jet teams and provided sound and air operations support to an additional 200 shows. As one of a local team of fairly inexperienced air show organizers, I know first-hand Rick’s careful attention to the details necessary to make an air show work and the value of his showmanship. His skill in teaching and overseeing the operational, financial, and entertainment components of a show is exemplary.
Rick Grissom’s influence on air shows spans many years. He developed the first onsite sponsorship program in the industry. He made the concept of the Executive Chalet popular. Rick oversaw the early development of the ICAS Aerobatic Competency Evaluator (ACE) program.
His creative approach to the production of air shows has helped make them a major entertainment event across America. He is highly respected by performers, organizers, and sponsors.