|U.S. Sport Aviation Expo Breaks Records|
|Written by Keith C. Mathiowetz|
|Monday, 20 February 2012 15:39|
The U.S. Sport Aviation Expo ended on Sunday, January 22, in Sebring, Florida, with record-breaking numbers. Bert Simpson, FAA staff manager of the North Florida District, said, "There were a total of 3,434 flight operations during the four-day event, with Saturday being the biggest at 1,256. The busiest hours were on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with 222 flight operations taking place at that time, making Sebring Regional Airport (SRA) the busiest airport in the country.”
Expo recorded a total of 156 exhibitors with 149 aircraft on display. Mike Willingham, executive director of SRA, said, “The show saw huge numbers of visitors on Friday and Saturday, approximately 16,000 attendees. Exhibitors were very pleased.”
“The success of Expo was a culmination of great weather, increased marketing, and the addition of new events by SRA, the host for this eighth annual Expo,” stated Willingham. This year saw the addition of an AvBid Aircraft Auctions event, a model airplane contest, food and wine pairing events, a seaplane base and splash-in at Lake Jackson, and more.
The benefit food and wine pairing events were extremely well received, and Expo will be cutting checks to both the local EAA Young Eagles Chapter 1240 and the Humane Society of Highlands County as a result of their success and support by Alan Jay and a host of other generous sponsors. igourmet participated in a cheese and wine tasting event as well as offering cheese for sampling at one of the indoor booths. The exotic igourmet cheeses were completely sold out by Saturday afternoon. Guests of Expo were offered a discount to buy from igourmet, as well.
The AvBid Aircraft Auctions event was a huge success. “Usually, we sell 20 percent, but, at Expo, we sold a third of our auction inventory,” said Sam Sirani, with AvBid. The auction took place on Saturday with live bidding and live video streaming for bidders who were unable to attend the auction in person. The highlight of the auction happened when John “Lites” Leenhouts, president of SUN ’n FUN, outbid all for the Garmin aera GPS 796 Americas XM (donated by Garmin) with all proceeds going to the local EAA Young Eagles Chapter.
Craig Fuller, president of AOPA, and Rod Hightower, president of EAA, gave speeches this year that drew standing-room-only crowds for each event.
The light sport aviation (LSA) show featured the best and the newest in the LSA community, and included conventional aircraft, kit planes, powered parachutes, trikes, gyros, amphibians, and innovative designs such as electrically powered aircraft.
Dates for next year have been tentatively set for January 17-20, 2013. For more information, visit http://www.sport-aviation-expo.com/.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 20 February 2012 15:41 )|