Will Allen Airshows present a series of breath-taking loops, hammerheads, spins, stalls, and other aerial maneuvers - all while Allen, known as the “Flying Tenor”, sings the national anthem of the United States and, occasionally, the anthem of Canadian live from the cockpit of his Decathlon (a two-seat fixed conventional gear light airplane).
The aerobatic routine has been choreographed to harmonize with the cadence and crescendos of the anthems as Allen performs solo, with keyboard accompaniment emanating from terra firma. The situation requires him to carry two very unusual (for a pilot) pieces of equipment—a pitch pipe and a Lectrosonics wireless system.
“When I’m ready to start, I take my cue from a pitch pipe,” explains Allen. “Once I have the music’s key, I start singing and the accompaniment follows my lead.”
The technology and coordination behind these performances is nothing short of considerable, with Allen’s powerful vocal performance emanates from the plane via the Lectrosonics wireless system directly to the air show facility’s broadcast system.
Utilizing a Lectrosonics UM250B UHF beltpack transmitter securely strapped into the rear seat of his airplane and an aviation headset mic with a customized harness to pass signal to the transmitter, Allen communicates wirelessly to a Lectrosonics UCR211 Diversity UHF receiver manned by Mark Bader, his sound engineer/keyboard accompanist on the ground.
“We’ve been using our Lectrosonics setup for just over a year,” states Allen, “and throughout all the performances, I can tell you without the slightest hesitation that the system has performed flawlessly. I never cease to be impressed with both the range and sound quality of the Lectrosonics equipment.
“While the actual aerobatics take place within several hundred feet of the crowd, preparation for the stunt frequently requires that I take the plane almost 5,000 feet away from the receiver in order to position the plane for the maneuver.
“That’s just shy of one mile and, even then, I’ve never experienced a single dropout, which for a performance of the national anthem would be absolutely unacceptable.”
Allen is equally enthusiastic about the ease with which the wireless system can be configured. “In addition to all the RF congestion in the immediate vicinity of the airfield,” he notes, “we frequently encounter RF activity from local broadcasters and other sources. With each new location where we perform, we always run a frequency scan, select the best open frequencies, and lock everything down prior to the start of each show.
“This process is quick and easy and not once have we ever had to call Lectrosonics for assistance. Similarly, the gear is built like a tank and we’ve never required service. The g-force that the transmitter endures during acceleration and throughout the maneuver is substantial, so that says a lot about Lectrosonics’ quality.”
“I’ve been really impressed with Lectrosonics performance. Given the results we’ve experienced with our present gear, our plan now is to upgrade to the company’s newer UM450 transmitter and UCR411A receiver. This way, we can take advantage of Lectrosonics’ Digital Hybrid Wireless technology.”
Find out more about these unique airshows here - www.willallenairshows.com