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International Council of Air Shows

Bill Stein Earns Air Show Industry's Sword of Excellence

December 8th, 2016

LAS VEGAS - The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) at its 49th annual convention presented its highest honor, the Sword of Excellence, Thursday night to an Aptos, Calif.-based pilot in front of nearly 1,000 air show industry professionals attending the event’s closing banquet at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel.

Bill Stein was instrumental in the creation and fine-tuning of new FAA guidance that provides direction to air show pilots flying dynamic, non-aerobatic formations. He has also helped ICAS and the FAA to develop reasonable, workable language on “aerobatic energy directed at the crowd,” and certification currency requirements.

Serving as a member of ICAS’s Aerobatic Competency Evaluation (ACE) Committee for nearly seven years, Stein has worked to improve air show safety while minimizing regulatory intrusion. He has been intimately involved in writing four revisions of the ICAS ACE Manual, the document that, for the past 25 years, has directed a program responsible for a significant and sustained decrease in fatal air show accidents. 

Stein also acts as a motivational and frank mentor for new air show pilots. As a pilot, he has combined extensive experience in solo and formation flying with sharp analytical skills and a self-deprecating approach to mistakes he has made during his career to provide many pilots with invaluable safety information. And he has continued to coach and mentor many of those pilots even after they are well established.

For many years, Stein has selflessly helped ICAS, the FAA and the air show community work through the most difficult safety problems by combining air show professionalism with a strong sense of what will or will not minimize hazards in the air show environment.

In 2015, Stein was inducted into the ICAS Foundation Air Show Hall of Fame as a pilot in the Red Baron Squadron.

About the International Council of Air Shows Sword of Excellence

Since 1981, ICAS has awarded the Sword of Excellence to recognize outstanding service and personal contributions to the air show industry. Over the last three decades, ICAS has honored over 40 Sword recipients for their leadership, service, innovation, vision, commitment and selfless contributions to the air show business. Selection for the Sword of Excellence recipient is made by the unanimous decision of a committee comprised of a member of the board of directors, two past award recipients, and two at-large members, each of whom has at least 10 years of air show industry experience. 

About the International Council of Air Shows

Headquartered in Leesburg, Va., ICAS was founded in 1968 as a trade and professional association by industry professionals to protect and promote their interests in the growing North American air show marketplace.