About Our Pre-SnF Series, and the Future
As you might have guessed, we
received a lot of feedback about our Sun 'n Fun Series, Sun 'n Fun
Insiders' Warning: 'Deadly' Conditions At 'Messed-Up'
Interestingly enough, our feedback seemed to fall into three
broad categories: readers in general (who overwhelmingly agreed),
vendors who disagreed, and vendors who applauded.
Readers and SnF vendors sometimes have different goals, and
those were reflected in our feedback. While readers were concerned
with the accidents and the treatment SnF traditionally gives our
Editor-in-Chief, vendors, of course, still come to the show to sell
Readers in general:
A reader who is debating which
among several aircraft to buy, you told us, won't pass the
opportunity that such a show affords. However, even those aircraft
that aren't at the show, will still receive careful consideration.
There seems to be no fooling ourselves though: if you, the reader,
are going to plunk down a bundle of thousand-dollar bills, you're
going to examine the prospects. You may drive in rather than fly...
but you'll be there.
If you're a reader who's merely curious, or simply likes the
camaraderie that smaller shows afford, you'll go to the smaller
shows. There's less traffic; you can go pretty much anywhere,
pretty much any time; and you can fly a lot more.
...and if you're a reader who needs a special part, or tool --
or if you need to talk to a manufacturer directly -- you'll come to
the big show.
Vendors want high attendance, but only
among those who are serious about their products. Thousands of
local folk gathering around, asking how many cylinders the TBM
700 has, aren't going to do anything but waste the time of the
vendors. While it's true that some of these people may 'catch the
aviation bug,' they're not the folks who will make this
year's show a success. It's interesting to note that, even among
the vendors who claimed our series was designed to keep people from
attending SnF, there was a consensus that business was good.
Some vendors, bless their hearts, applauded our emphasis on the
safety and First Amendment issues, even while conceding that our
series may have suppressed some attendance. These vendors, too,
reported good sales at the show.
We hope that our documented concerns
(and constant kvetching) about SnF's safety record had something,
even if slight, to do with this year's no-fatality triumph. We are
truly happy that so many of the serious, informed aviation
enthusiasts were able to have the Spring forum, to get their
questions answered, and to meet each other. We also are flattered
that some vendors think our influence is so great, that our written
concerns could change their fortunes... in fact, that's what
advertising in ANN is all about. (Note to vendors: if
we're as powerful as you say we are, you ought to consider
advertising here -- anywhere else just wouldn't be effective!)
Will we cover SnF again?
As long as SnF survives (a BIG 'if,'
we think), and particularly if it makes the needed changes in its
Board, we'll be happy to bring you the best of the show. We're
professionals. We can take it (and we drive in--for a reason).
When the few remaining SnF obstructionists either leave the
Board or get smart and lift their ridiculous and wholly
counter-productive ban on our Editor-in-Chief's attendance (the
reportedly ILLEGAL ban extends even to unrelated events throughout
the year, such as FAA safety seminars, in the FAA building!), we'll
have even-better coverage for you. If the improvements in the
safety protocols and consciousness continue, we may even start
endorsing attendance -- who knows? Stranger things have
Still; one MAJOR caveat revolves around a GROWING movement to
replace Sun 'n Fun... something that we could support so long as
the replacement is an improvement. What we hear, so far, sounds
REALLY promising and some of the people involved in this
possibility are serious players in the aviation business -- folks
with good reps. As soon as the effort gets more public (shortly, we
think), we'll fill you in.