Sebring LSA Expo: A different kind of airshow

As the curtain closed on the 2013 edition of the US Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., a common comment was overheard escaping the mouths of a handful of attendees. The specific wording varied, but the intent was familiar. Is attendance down? Where are the crowds?

Have no fear — the show, commonly known as the Sebring LSA Expo — is doing just fine, even if it is somewhat misunderstood. [Read more...]

It’s a people thing…

It’s long been my contention that people are the magnet that makes airshows and aviation gatherings worth attending — not the aircraft themselves. Admittedly, I am in the minority with that opinion, but the idea seems to be re-enforced for me year after year. This year’s US Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, was no exception.

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Is this an airport?

According to the US Department of Transportation, the US and its territories have more than 19,000 airport, heliports, seaplane bases, and other landing facilities. That’s a lot of aviation. Or at least it’s a lot of potential aviation. [Read more...]

Respect for the seldom celebrated man

The odds are good you’ve never heard of Lon Cooper. There’s no reason you would have, really. But you should have. We all should have. At least we should have if life is fair, which it is not.

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To the Expo we will go

Two weeks from now the US Sport Aviation Expo will be kicking off in Sebring, Florida. Unlike most aviation gatherings, the Expo is not a traditional airshow or fly-in.

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Hope for the new year

I recently had the good fortune to sit around a rather large table with a group of aviation believers. These are people who know aviation, have faith in it, and understand its importance to the economy of our nation and the world. They are also aware of the tremendous educational benefits aviation provides to its participants. Whether you’re young, middle-aged, or silver-haired, aviation has something to share that can enrich your life.

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Golden opportunities and bitter pills

Participating in politics is, in essence, an exercise in dealing with people. The goal is to establish a method of governing or providing management services. But in the end it all comes down to developing and utilizing your ability to talk to, listen to, and work with a staggeringly diverse group of people.

Like most businessmen, I was involved in politics of a sort long before I held political office. [Read more...]

Flying the Curtiss Pusher

The twin airfoil canard out front looks like a box kite, one of the prominent building materials is bamboo, and there was never a Pilot’s Operating Handbook of any kind produced for the airplane. However, when Kermit Weeks lines the Curtiss Pusher up on a 5,000-foot grass strip to take his first hop, heads turn and attention is being paid. It’s not every day you see an airplane from the earliest days of powered flight take to the air.

The airplane arrived at its new home at Fantasy of Flight in central Florida just recently to join Weeks’ ever-growing aircraft collection. Weeks and his crew of top-flight mechanics wasted little time assembling it and getting it ready to fly.

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Inherently international

It started with Louis Bleriot in 1909. Bleriot, who was essentially an engineer and an auto parts manufacturer, had been interested in aviation for nearly a decade. His fascination with flight nagged at him until he designed his own airplane, built it, and climbed into the pilot’s seat. Of course he didn’t do all this work personally. But he was a major player in the early days of aviation, and so we owe him a great debt of gratitude for several of his accomplishments. Louis was a trailblazer, as we all can be, given the opportunity and the drive.

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The potential of potential

Believe it or not, even the most complex things can ultimately be broken down to a remarkably simple origin. Take your house, for example. While it may seem somewhat ordinary to you, a person who lived in an earlier time would be fascinated by the almost magical qualities of the amenities and gadgets you live with so casually.

It’s true. Imagine for a moment that you could invite a great thinker, tinkerer, and inventor like Benjamin Franklin into your home. You wouldn’t even have to clean the place up to impress him.

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