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Airborne-Unlimited-07.10.24 HOLIDAY


Mon, Oct 24, 2022

DeLand Aero Showcase Didn’t Show Much

Light Attendance and Few Exhibitors Left Many Disappointed

After the departure of event organizer/manager Jana Filip for new digs at Sun ‘n Fun, many thought that the delightful annual DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase was toast... ANN included. And based on their first showing of a follow-on event, maybe it is.

Despite spectacular weather, the revamped ‘Aero Showcase’ was sparsely populated and attended. Barely more than half a dozen real players in the sport aviation community showed up with little more than a dozen airplanes (opening day), in total -- and attendance, even though the gate fee was nixed in favor of free admission, was light. Originally, excessive exhibitor and attendance charges caused many to cross the event off your list for a potential visit until some of those fees were rethought.

High points were the first public display of both the 915iS powered Magnus Fusion 212 and the Montaer MC01-- both of which are on our ‘must-fly’ list for the near future. Displays featuring the FlightDesign F2 and the AeroSport Bushcat also proved popular. A much-awaited display of the Heron small turboprop engine was a bit of a disappointment since the display was static and unattended by anyone who could detail the program. Also there were Duc Propeller, Tecnam, and  Aero-Adventure... though several other expected vendors were no-shows.

Complaints onsite, as well as online, were critical of the number of vendors, lack of attendance, and what a few considered to be a misleading Exhibitor list that numbered over twenty, though closer inspection noted that several of the listings were for derivations of a single parent organization... hence the more limited number actually there on display -- plus the aforementioned no-shows and a few very visible refusals from vendors that used to be a major part of the DeLand effort in previous years. 

The event boasted a number of aircraft sales onsite, but it is unverified if any sales were made to people solely from event attendance.

This event got the OK just a few short months ago from the bosses at DeLand, and the lack of prep time appears to be a major culprit... if they try again; more prep time, better advance marketing and communications, as well as some REAL support from the City, and so forth would seem to be in order.

Better still... if Sun 'n Fun reinstates their Winter Fly-In event in future years, that venue would be in a better position to expand their focus on Light Sport Aircraft and thereby attract and support the industry in a manner potentially more worthy of the sport aviation community.

We shall see...



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