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Shevers Visits EAA Headquarters

Sporty’s founder gives sneak preview to new online pilot courses

Tom Poberezny and Hal Shevers
Tom Poberezny and Sporty's Hal Shevers meet on Tuesday at EAA headquarters.

June 10, 2008 — EAA welcomed a true general aviation stalwart to its Oshkosh headquarters on Tuesday as Hal Shevers, founder and chairman of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, visited the EAA Aviation Center. Shevers provided the EAA publications team with a brief overview of Sporty’s new Online Pilot Courses, which was launched this week at www.sportys.com/pilotshop/pages/onlinecourses.cfm.

“We began in 1963 with the carousel projector, then went to the wireless carousel, to videotape and DVDs,” he said. “Now we’re online.” Shevers stressed that this new delivery system does not replace Sporty’s popular flight training DVDs, but provides another option for student pilots.

“We still offer the DVDs and training materials,” he said. Online advantages include broadcast quality video, available 24/7 from anywhere you have a broadband Internet connection, interactivity, and no need to install special software. Plus, all work is automatically saved on Sporty’s servers.

Shevers commented on fuel prices and how he feels the current economy is affecting the industry. “As for our business, I would say it’s soft, but good,” he explained. “Of course, that’s on the heels of the last two years, which were our best ever. But I’m seeing a turnaround in the last 60 days or so, so we’re optimistic.” Shevers added that they have more hangar tenants at their Clermont County Airport facilities than ever before, “which is encouraging.”

GA pilots have always complained about the price of fuel, he said. “But in the end, we’re going to do what we like to do, be that flying, or boating, or driving. It (economy) could hurt some segments more than others, but we’re going to keep doing what we love to do.”

Shevers and Sporty’s Eric Radtke joined EAA publications staffers David Hipschman and Mary Jones for a traditional “Oshkosh” lunch at Ardy & Ed’s Drive-In, where the burgers and fries arrive via roller-skating carhops. Shevers later met with EAA President Tom Poberezny.

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