U.S. Sport Aviation Expo Under Way in Sebring
Latest from the LSA industry on display through Sunday
Visitors to the expo have the chance to see a wide variety of light-sport aircraft up close and personal.
Ken Strang peers inside Cirrus' newest entry into the LSA category, the SRS.
Louis Mancuso talks to an interested customer of a Tecnam P2000 Sierra.
The RANS S-19 on display at Sebring.
EAA's Ron Wagner offers his expertise at the Sebring Expo's EAA Tent.
EAA volunteer Willie Tacke talks to one of the Expo attendees.
The Cirrus SRS attracts a large crowd.
The Cirrus SRS interior features upholstery that matches its paint scheme.
January 17, 2008 — The fourth annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is off to a rousing start at the Sebring Regional Airport in Florida, as recreational aviation enthusiasts gather to get an up-close look at the latest offerings from the light-sport aircraft industry. Aircraft including fixed-wing, weight-shift trikes, powered parachutes, motorgliders, and gyroplanes, along with accessories and components are on display at nearly 150 exhibits. The Expo, which runs through Sunday, January 20, features new designs, major announcements, EAA-led forums and workshops, available flight demonstrations, and more. EAA will also provide free sport pilot student pilot certificates to EAA members Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Several major announcements were made on opening day:
Cirrus Design Corporation announced it is now accepting orders for its Cirrus SRS light-sport aircraft. Customers can place a $5,000 deposit with the company at the Expo, do so via the Cirrus website, www.cirrusdesign.com. In a news release, Dale Klapmeier, Cirrus vice chairman and co-founder commented, "The response to the SRS has been simply amazing. EAA AirVenture confirmed for us that the SRS has its own place in the Cirrus line and we are pleased to begin offering people the opportunity to place an order for the SRS." Along with a prototype SRS on display, Cirrus also has a Generation 3 SR20 - the same model that will be the first prize in EAA's Aircraft Sweepstakes this year - as well as an SR22 in display at Sebring this week. Look for a pilot report on flying the SR20 cross-country from Oshkosh to Sebring in the March issue of Sport Aviation.
Cessna Aircraft announced the locations of its U.S. reassembly facilities for the Model 162 SkyCatcher. Following production at China's Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), SkyCatchers will be test flown, disassembled, and shipped to three Cessna authorized service stations in the United States: Eagle Aviation in West Columbia, South Carolina; Yingling Aviation in Wichita, Kansas; and Southwest Platinum Aviation in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The facilities will reassemble the aircraft and conduct acceptance test flights before delivery to Cessna Sales Team Authorized Representatives, who will distribute to customers. A mockup of the Cessna SkyCatcher as well as a new Skyhawk are on display at Sebring this week.
Sebring visitors were treated to the worldwide introduction of Flight Design's new CTLS, a modified version of the top-selling CT that, according to Flight Design USA President Tom Peghiny, optimizes the design for American pilots. Enhancements include an enlarged cabin and a modified, more forgiving composite spring landing gear.
Also displaying new aircraft at Sebring this year are SkyKits Corp. of High River, Alberta, Canada, displaying its Rampage S-LSA; X-Air LSA of Redmond Oregon; and Gobosh Aviation of Moline, Illinois, with its new Gobosh 800.
EAA's Ron Wagner, manager of field relations, is pleased to report a large contingent of EAA members have stopped by the EAA membership tent, located immediately inside the main gate. "It's going extremely well so far, and we're happy to see all the EAAers coming through the gates," he said. "This has become the first national aviation event of the year. Enthusiasm is pretty high and so is the level of expertise on sport pilot/light-sport aircraft. We're looking forward to a great weekend."
At the EAA tent you can join, renew, get a youth membership, or inquire about EAA Member Benefits like the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan and the EAA credit card. (Sign up for the card and get a free EAA baseball cap!) You can also subscribe to EAA's Reach for the Sky e-newsletter for those who want to learn to fly.
Stay tuned for more reports on new and updated aircraft that on display at Sebring, along with other news and developments from the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo.