The 10th annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo drew to a close on Sunday afternoon, January 19, after one of the most successful runs in the event’s 10-year history. Abundant sunshine all four days made a pleasing backdrop for the great variety of aircraft that enjoyed an enormous amount of flight time throughout the weekend.
Four aircraft made their debut at the event: RANS Aircraft’s S-20 Raven, Tecnam Aircraft’s new Sea Sky on floats—the only such model in the U.S., 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, and he stated that gate traffic showed a healthy increase over attendance in 2013.
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 and how cooperative they were, and we will definitely be bringing them back next year,” Filip said. “George Cline and his team did a great job.”
The Sebring Expo has a reputation among aircraft manufacturers as the event where airplane sales happen, and it lived up to that billing again this year, with many exhibitors reporting multiple sales. Ken Scott of Van’s Aircraft said 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 were willing to give us their information, indicating a serious interest in buying an aircraft. Our list from this event is longer than we gathered at other major air shows last year.” Canino also had kind words for the helpfulness of volunteers. “They bend over backwards to help you with anything you need.”
Filip also offered her thanks to the many partners and sponsors who contribute to the Expo’s success, including aviation partners Flight Design USA, Zenith Aircraft, and Aviators Hot Line. She also recognized the numerous local sponsors who support the event.