The 10th annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo drew to a close on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 19, after one of the most successful runs in the event’s 10-year history.
Four aircraft debuted at the Expo, including RANS Aircraft’s S-20 Raven (pictured above), Tecnam Aircraft’s new Sea Sky on floats, the Zigolo Ultralight Motorglider from AeroMarine LSA, and the Super Petrel LS from Florida Light Sport Aviation.
Sebring Regional Airport Director Mike Willingham called the event the smoothest running ever and offered his appreciation to Expo Director Jana Filip and her husband Gary, who manage the event. “Operationally, everything ran near flawlessly, and that’s thanks to Jana and Gary’s efforts.”
Willingham also lauded the work of the 240 Expo volunteers who oversee the myriad of details necessary to keep an event like the Expo running. He added that gate traffic showed a healthy increase over attendance in 2013.
Expo Director Jana Filip also described the event as extremely smooth. “We created a new communication dispatch system for our volunteers to help them accomplish their duties, and that worked very well. Everyone pitched in and made the event happen, and we thank them for their efforts.”
Willingham and Filip both praised the work of Air Boss, Inc., which managed air traffic operations.
“All the pilots spoke very highly of how Air Boss managed air traffic flow,” Filip said. “We will definitely be bringing them back next year… George Cline and his team did a great job.”
The Sebring LSA Expo has a reputation among aircraft manufacturers as the event where airplane sales happen, and it lived up to that billing again this year, according to organizers.
Said Ken Scott, Van’s Aircraft, “It was the best show ever for Van’s Aircraft. We brought two aircraft to the show and I’m estimating we gave at least 50 demo flights. That’s the beauty of this event — they make it easy to get our airplanes out to give demo flights and that helps sell airplanes.”
Bill Canino, President of SportairUSA, also called the event a successful one for his company. “We talked with many serious prospects and have a long list of folks who gave us their information, indicating a serious interest in buying an aircraft. Our list from this event is longer than we gathered at other major airshows last year.”
Canino also had kind words for the helpfulness of volunteers. “They bend over backwards to help you with anything you need.”
The theme for next year’s expo will be “The Next 10 for the Next Gen,” referencing that next year will kick off the Expo’s next 10-year run and adding that the Expo looks forward to continuing to work with aircraft manufacturers and other aviation companies to get the word out that recreational flying is attainable.
“We want to help the aviation community grow and help more people understand that earning a pilot certificate and owning an aircraft are attainable, affordable goals,” Filip said.
Dates for the 2015 U.S. Sport Aviation Expo are January 15-18.
For more information: Sport-Aviation-Expo.com