"Pilots and air show organizers need much more than a good crowd for a successful show. They need clear skies, a clear river, and a clear plan."
To you, it's a boat. To a pilot thousands of feet in the air, it's a way to stay in sight.
"They take up the marker boats and that will give them their bearing for where the actual show performance is."
Air show consultant Bill Casey says they keep performers where people can see them, and keep other acts out until it's their time.
"They'll be doing that while the other performers are in here. Whenever this one clears out, he's got to establish heading back to the airport that's out of this aircraft's way."
And keep the show going.
"You might have somebody on the other shore or come from a boat ramp further up or down river and try to go right through the middle of it," Casey says. "That's why we have DNR, fire department, and Coast Guard stop them."
His team watches the skies not for the show, but for storms, watching for anything that can come dangerously close.
"My basic point is if I see lightning and hear lightning and hear thunder within five miles, I'll stop it."
First responders have been practicing extraction if a plane hits the water. But the biggest obstacle is the closed Blue Bridge. Casey says it could take as long as 45 minutes to get someone to the hospital if something happens on the Indiana side of the river.
"So, we have a helicopter standing by just for the air show in case something happens on the other side of the river," he says.
Casey says they'll communicate with control towers, using cell phones to let acts know when they can takeoff.