Sebring LSA Expo booms with traffic, sales

AOPA Pilot By Jim Moore

Good weather, good attendance, and strong sales gave light sport aircraft manufacturers a lift at the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo.

The eighth annual edition of the nation’s largest show dedicated to LSA was held Jan. 19 through 22 at Sebring Regional Airport in Sebring, Fla., and set records for traffic and attendance, according to organizers still working on the final tallies. FAA officials logged 1,256 air operations Jan. 21, the busiest day of the show, including 200 in the first hour—a rate of arrivals and departures that rivaled the nation’s busiest airports, and made Sebring Regional Airport the busiest airport in Florida.

“This is the best ever,” said Art Tarola of AB Flight LLC in Allentown, Pa., selling Evektor models including the Harmony LSA. Four signed contracts, with a possible fifth to come as of Jan. 22, gave Tarola plenty of reason to smile. “We haven’t had this interest, and this level of sales, since 2007. People are tired of being afraid.” Read more »

AOPA President Craig Fuller and EAA President Rod Hightower each spoke to gatherings at the show, each remarking on the important role that LSA will play in growing the pilot population and supporting the general aviation community.

Nearly 150 aircraft were among the 160 vendor displays greeting visitors, with traffic also boosted by four days of unbroken sunshine—a first for the eight-year-old event, according to Expo Director Jana Filip. The Sebring Regional Airport Authority, managing the expo for the first time, received high marks from vendors and guests. Read more »

Volare 2012 March issue article on US Sport Aviation Expo.
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Pilot LLA 2012 March/April issue article on US Sport Aviation Expo.
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Managing the Skies  March/April issue 2012. We are distributing this PDF with the permission of the FAA Managers Association.
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Sipping, Socializing At Sport Aviation EXPO

Excerpted from

Jan. 24–SEBRING — Wine tastings are educational events, or so people tell themselves as they sip, sip, sip.

But they did learn from Sarah Barnett, for instance, that all wines start with the same golden color, but a rose gets its blush from how long the grapes remain during the fermentation process. Cabernets get even darker.

They chose the rosé to go with the beet salad because of its rich, spicy flavor; a citrusy chardonnay for scallops and zucchini with an orange-juice reduction; and a deep, round Sequoia Grove Cambium for grilled beef tenderloin with truffles and mushroom bread pudding. Read more »
Copyright 2012 – Highlands Today, Sebring, Fla.

Podcast: Hightower at Sebring

By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief

EAA President Rod Hightower keynoted the Sport Aviation Expo opening dinner Thursday and touched on EAA’s strategic realignment, new pilot promotion initiatives, and the FAA’s internal dialogue about a possible weight gain for light sport aircraft. He spoke with AVweb‘s Russ Niles. Listen to the podcast »

LSA financing options abound for individuals

AOPA Pilot By Jim Moore

The light sport aircraft market got a welcome boost at the 2012 Sebring US Sport Aviation Expo, with manufacturers and sales reps reporting many new aircraft sales—up to half a dozen each. For well-qualified individual buyers, financing …
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Air-conditioned Alto stands out at low speeds

AOPA Pilot By Jim Moore

The FlyCool air conditioning system, introduced at the Sebring US Sport Aviation Expo, weighs in at 22 pounds and runs on a dedicated 70-amp electrical system, drawing only about half of that power. It is a first for the light sport market.
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Controlling traffic during LSA show ‘an adrenaline rush’

AOPA Pilot By Jim Moore

By Jim Moore FAA Operations Manager Boyd Martin said working the air traffic control tower at the Sebring US Sport Aviation Expo is a thrill. Martin, part of a staff of 21 FAA technicians, controllers, and managers deployed for the Jan.
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Medical Proposal Likely Delayed: Fuller

By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief

A joint initiative by EAA and AOPA to convince the FAA to offer medical certificate exemptions for certain limited GA operations will likely be delayed while the agency looks for a new administrator. In a town-hall meeting speech at Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring on Friday, AOPA President Craig Fuller said former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s resignation after a drunk-driving charge means the medical proposal will likely be shelved for a few months until a new administrator has been named and is up to speed. The joint proposal would exempt pilots flying day VFR in aircraft with not more than 180 horsepower from the third-class medical requirement. In a podcast interview, Fuller said he would support an increase in the maximum weight for light sport aircraft that is in the very earliest stages of consideration by the FAA. EAA President Rod Hightower, in response to a question from the floor, discussed the potential of a weight increase, for safety purposes, during his speech to the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) dinner on Thursday. Fuller also dropped some hints about the direction AOPA will be headed to improve student pilot retention.

Fuller will lay out the full program in a Web address next week but he told the crowd in Sebring some issues stand out after AOPA’s two-year investigation of the abysmal success rate for student pilots. Less than 30 percent of those who start flying lessons get their certificates. Instructor professionalism and the training environment will undoubtedly be addressed (possibly by way of an incentive program) and there will likely be efforts announced to bolster the sense of community among pilots; Fuller mentioned flying clubs in that context. He also said he does not expect implementation of the $100-per-leg user fee for turbine aircraft in the election year but he does expect it to come up in 2013 when the new administration is in place. Read this on Avweb

Gobosh LSA reborn as Aero AT-4

AOPA Pilot By Jim Moore
Of the dozens of aircraft that converged on the Sebring US Sport Aviation Expo Jan. 19 through 22, the Aero AT-4 had the most challenging journey. The Polish-made light sport aircraft was nearly grounded by US Customs inspections, caught in a Catch-22: …
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LSA on Display

U.S. Sport Aviation Expo underway in Sebring

January 19, 2012 – The 8th annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo kicked off Thursday morning in Sebring, Florida, to sunny skies and a forecast of great weather for this weekend’s show. More than 100 exhibitors are in place at the indoor and outdoor booths on Sebring Regional Airport (SEF), including airframe, engine, and avionics manufacturers and distributors. Powered parachutes, trikes, and fixed-wing aircraft will have specific flight times each day of the event, which runs through 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Gates are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Camping is available at the adjacent Sebring International Raceway.

A full slate of educational forums, supported by EAA, will cover subjects as varied as buying insurance for your light-sport aircraft to tips for passing your practical test to the maintenance of Rotax engines. Forums will be held daily throughout the weekend.

EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower is the featured speaker at tonight’s Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association dinner (6 p.m.), while AOPA President Craig Fuller will hold a “Meet and Greet” session at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Read more »

US Sport Aviation EXPO is a Hit!

Published January 21, 2012 | By Chief Monkey

Mike Willingham, the airport manager at Sebring Regional Airport, reported with some pride that Thursday’s opening of the US Sport Aviation Expo was the busiest opening day they’ve ever had. By lunchtime on Friday it was clear that attendance was on the uptick again, with enthusiastic crowds of sport aviation enthusiasts wandering the ramps and kicking the tires of aircraft from one end of the field to the other.

Willingham runs a tight ship in Sebring, where the airport sits beside the famous racetrack. It’s not at all unusual to hear the powerful roar of racing automobiles muscling their way through the turns and accelerating into the straights. It’s all aviation this weekend though. All eyes are on the skies. And beautiful skies they are. Read more »


Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

January 25, 2012: Avweb By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief

There’s a new eye in the sky over Tulsa these days, and it’s keeping an eye on things for the local sheriff’s office for about 10 percent of the cost of a helicopter. AVweb‘s Russ Niles spoke with Roger Crow of Echo Flight Resources about the Flight Design CTLE law-enforcement platform based on a light sport aircraft. Read more »

Sebring Photo Gallery Two: U.S. Sport Aviation EXPO 2012

Avweb By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief

Our news team is gearing up for light sport news from the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida — but before things got busy they had time to check out a few displays and kick some tires.

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