Reports continue positively for results at AirVenture 2011…despite FAA’s partial shutdown, a media frenzy over the debt ceiling, a roller coaster ride in the stock markets, and a continuing bum housing market. If you can smile after all that, things must be improving.
Here’s more evidence of improvement: Icon Aircraft announced it secured 143 delivery position sales ($286,000 raked in) at AirVenture for its sexy new A5, expected on the market perhaps by 2012. Icon generously donated 10% of the take to the Young Eagles program. Flight Design continues to log orders for its LSA but its new four-seat C4 has garnered nearly 100 delivery position orders (at $7,000 apiece). Based on conversations with reps of various brands since the show, I would guesstimate more than 30 LSA orders were secured at AirVenture (perhaps $300,000 of deposits for deliveries this year). That’s the best in recent memory for AirVenture sales. Sellers usually say every order taken at the show is matched by another in the weeks following.
Lycoming engines has entered the LSA field with several manufacturers saying they will install the lightened O-233, including Tecnam, Renegade, Kitfox, and FK Lightplanes. Meanwhile, Rotax, which announced it had delivered its 40,000th 9-series aircraft engine, had its biggest presence ever at AirVenture.
The LSA Mall, hosted by LAMA, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, had a strong event with good crowds who have become more familiar with the location (near the popular Forum buildings and on the way to the kit and warbird areas). Every space was spoken for nearly a month in advance, a change from the last two years when it took last minute scrambling to fill every space.
Even AirVenture’s Ultralight Area, once almost written off for dead, produced sales. By my own observation, traffic was up and crowds were returning to the flight line fence for an up-close, in-the-air look at the lowest priced aircraft available. The electric Lazair alone generated huge buzz.
In the non-airframe end of the industry, many inside exhibitors reported good sales. For example, Wicks Aircraft reported Dynon Avionics‘ new handheld radio was “flying out of the exhibit building. Sales were also brisk for just about anything intended for aircraft panels,” added boss Scott Wick. All in all, a strong week in Oshkosh!
For more on Sport Pilot and LSAs: ByDanJohnson.com