Day One of the 11th annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is in the history books. According to organizers, it was a exciting day for the first-ever Wednesday start of the Expo, including the first sale of an Ekolot Topaz aircraft in the U.S.
Some exhibitors are still awaiting the arrival of “weather delayed” aircraft from other parts of the U.S., but most are expected to make their arrival in Sebring no later than Thursday, to fill up all the spaces on the Expo grounds, organizers repot. Some 40 new exhibitors are on the field in Sebring this week, with more than 125 exhibitors in total.
Exhibitors and Expo organizers described Wednesday’s crowd as good. While the lack of sunshine may have kept some local visitors home, exhibitors reported that those in attendance were a “quality crowd,” interested in shopping for aircraft and not just “kicking tires.”
In conjunction with the Expo, the ASTM F-37 Standards Committee for Light-Sport Aircraft held meetings on Wednesday to discuss new and amended standards for LSA. Members of the committee reported that the meetings were quite productive, Expo officials noted.
Bearhawk Aircraft brought its Bearhawk LSA (pictured below) to the Sebring Expo for the first time, with Wayne Massey flying the aircraft from near Austin, Texas, to Sebring this week. According to Bearhawk Aircraft owner Mark Goldberg the aircraft is now using a Catto 76-inch by 44-inch propeller, resulting in greater performance. Massey said the aircraft flies wide-open throttle at 2850 rpm at 130 mph; at 75% power it flies 120 mph at 2600 rpm burning 5.5 gph.
“This is the propeller that builders will want to use on their aircraft,” Massey said.
This first day of the Expo wrapped up with the Light Aircraft Manufacturer’s Association (LAMA) annual dinner in the Aviators Hot Line Show Center tent. More than 280 exhibitors, LAMA members, and friends were at the dinner co-sponsored by Aviators Hot Line and ULPower.
A surprise for the evening was the static display of one Tesla Motors’ electric cars, with a second car available on the field this week for short test drives.
The Expo continues through Saturday.