Sporty’s Fly-In draws record crowds

Thanks in part to an ideal day for both flying and strolling around a beautiful general aviation airport, Sporty’s annual fly-in drew more than 1,000 attendees, arriving both by car and airplane. Approximately 200 aircraft arrived during the fly-in, making Clermont County/Sporty’s Airport one busy place on Saturday, May 19.

Attractions included dozens of commercial exhibitors, free seminars, shopping at Sporty’s retail shop and, of course, Sporty’s signature free hot dogs.

At noon, a short program paid tribute to Rudy Frasca, founder of Frasca International. The National Association of Flight Instructors chose International Learn to Fly Day and Sporty’s Fly-in as the venue to induct Frasca into its Flight Instructor Hall of Fame. Accepting for Frasca, who was unable to attend, was his daughter, Peggy.

An all-new Garmin equipped Cessna Skycatcher and two Bose A20 headsets were awarded to Dr. Matthew Smolin, a cardiologist in the United States Army Reserves who has served time in Iraq. Sporty’s President and CEO Michael Wolf telephoned Dr. Smolin from a speaker phone, while the fly-in attendees listened in, to inform him that he was the winner of Sporty’s Sweepstakes. After a few moments of silence, all Dr. Smolin could say was a quiet, “For real?” Later, plans were made for Dr. Smolin to come to Sporty’s to fly his new airplane home.

Free seminars were once again popular, with the seminar on Flying with the iPad, hosted by Sporty’s Vice President Bret Koebbe, attracting the most interest with more than 150 pilots in attendance. Other seminars were presented by Garmin, Aspen Avionics, Air Mod, ForeFlight and NFlightcam.

As part of International Learn to Fly Day, Sporty’s Academy provided several introductory lessons to aspiring aviators in airplanes and a glider. They also hosted a landing competition in its Frasca Mentor Flight Simulator, with the winner taking home one of Sporty’s most popular training courses – Sporty’s Flight Review.

“Our parking lot was full, the exhibit area buzzed, and we just about ran out of room to park airplanes,” said Wolf. “Our fly-in is one of our favorite days of the year, and it’s always a good day when we can reward one of our customers with a brand-new airplane.”

Next year’s fly-in and wweepstakes award is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2013.

Now in its 51st year, Sporty’s has grown from a one-man operation launched by Hal Shevers to the world’s largest pilot shop and an iconic general aviation brand. Sporty’s operations extend to airport management, avionics installation and repair, aircraft maintenance, a residential airport community, new aircraft sales and flight training, including for the University of Cincinnati’s professional pilot program. Located at Clermont County/Sporty’s Airport (I69), Sporty’s is philanthropically dedicated to expanding the general aviation community with both pilots and skilled technicians.

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