the vast majority of today's public has never witnessed a night
aerobatic show, the concept is not new. Research has produced a
picture of Clyde E. Upside Down Pangborn and Loop King Billy
Brooks taken in 1924 at an amusement park in Louisiana, flying what
has to be one of the first night shows ever. However, the use of
flares on a fabric-covered airplane was more an exercise of boldness
than one of safety! This may have something to do with the demise of
the night displays in the late 1920s.
It wasn't until the 1974 Calgary Stampede, when
Art Scholl started doing night displays across the U.S. and Canada,
that the night show was reborn. After losing Art in 1985, the
powered airplane night show was again relegated to obscurity.
1989, with the introduction of Steve Oliver's PEPSI FIREDANCER, the
night display was reborn. Steve Oliver and the FIREDANCER have
certainly expanded on night aerobatics with fireworks. Where it was
once railroad flares tied to struts, Steve now has a tremendous
variety of pyrotechnics available to him. Both the quality and the
quantity have greatly improved. Along with the use of dazzling
fireworks, Steve flies his night show to an original soundtrack of
music and story line that greatly enhances the already spectacular
the FIREDANCER was being rebuilt to its present air show
configuration, Steve designed stainless steel pyrotechnic mounts
incorporating titanium heat shields for the wings. These hold the 30
different pieces of pyrotechnics that are electronically ignited on
demand from the cockpit. The fountains spew 1,000-foot-long massive
streams of sparks that trail behind the airplane as it paints the
loops, rolls and Cuban Eights that the FIREDANCER executes. Multi-
colored balls explode into cascading works of pyrotechnic art.
Fireworks, loved by all, are made even more dramatic when seen for
the first time, shot from the FIREDANCER.