Final preparations are underway for this year’s U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, which starts next Wednesday, Jan. 14, and runs through Saturday, Jan. 17, on the Sebring Regional Airport (SEF). More than 18,000 U.S. and international visitors attended last year’s event.
The Sebring Expo is the place to see, try, fly, and buy anything related to affordable aircraft, including light-sport, homebuilt, refurbished aircraft, and ultralights, organizers note.
Expo Director Jana Filip said, “Excitement is building, and we’re delighted to welcome nearly 30 new exhibitors to this year’s event, highlighting our expanded focus on all affordable aircraft options.”
In addition to the more than 130 exhibitors displaying aircraft and their associated equipment, EAA’s One Week Wonder and AOPA’s Reimagined 152 will be on display.
More than 2,500 EAA members and a core group of volunteers built EAA’s One Week Wonder, a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer, during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014. Charlie Becker, EAA’s Homebuilding Community Manager, said, “The project was an effort to introduce more people to homebuilding, show that building an aircraft is an attainable goal, and that homebuilt aircraft are an affordable aircraft option.”
The One Week Wonder will travel to a number of fly-ins throughout the country in the coming year, Becker said, to continue to introduce homebuilding to potential builders. The short takeoff and landing aircraft is powered by a state-of-the-art Rotax 912iS engine and is equipped with a Dynon touch-screen avionics panel.
With its Reimagined 152, AOPA is exploring the concept that older airplanes that have been updated from tip to tail can help bring down the cost of flying, focusing its efforts on refurbishing Cessna 150s and 152s. Triple R Affordable Aircraft , which is also exhibiting at the Expo, espouses a similar concept, focusing on refurbishing higher performance production aircraft.
AOPA has partnered with Aviat Aircraft and together they will spend the remainder of this year testing their concept. AOPA believes that when owned and operated in a community — such as a flying club, partnership, or flight school — these refurbished aircraft have the potential to allow many more people to fly and become engaged in general aviation in ways that are not possible through singular aircraft ownership.
Both EAA’s and AOPA’s aircraft will be displayed at their respective booths on the Expo grounds, with representatives available to discuss each association’s programs.
New for Expo this year is an Aircraft Sales Lot, offering private owners the opportunity to display their aircraft for sale. Aviators Hot Line will manage the Aircraft Sales Lot, which will be adjacent to the Homebuilt Parking Area on the Sebring Airport ramp.
Daily forums, keynote speakers, and workshops will offer several learning opportunities for current and would-be pilots and aircraft owners. Stewart Covering Systems will conduct twice-daily hands-on covering workshops, and Aviation Survival Technologies will demonstrate safe techniques for exiting an aircraft after a water ditching. Twice-daily exhibitor showcases will allow Expo attendees to observe a variety of aircraft in flight, and demo flights will be available continuously throughout the event.
The Seaplane Pilot’s Association will again host a Seaplane Splash-In from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday on Lake Jackson in Sebring adjacent to the Sunset Grill on Highway 27. A shuttle will operate regularly between the Expo site and the Seaplane Splash-In.
The Aviators Hot Line Show Center Tent also will be a center of activity for Expo visitors, offering a place for people to relax and enjoy lunch from the onsite concessionaires and a variety of entertainment. The Flying Musicians Association will again entertain visitors from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily, followed by a keynote speaker each day at 1:30 p.m.