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Sport Aviation Expo Concludes With Fly-Out to Bahamas

 

Tom Gutmann Jr.
Tom Gutmann Jr. from Texas waves to the crowd before leaving the Sebring airport for the Bahamas in his Flight Design CTLS on amphibious floats.

By Dan Grunloh

January 21, 2013 - The U.S Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, concluded at 2 p.m. Sunday with an awards ceremony and the launching of more than a dozen light-sport aircraft on a trip to the Bahamas.

The weather was excellent the first day and the last day, but Friday and Saturday had temperatures as low as 41, clouds, mist, and light rain as weather to the north (which had blocked some arrivals) began to affect the Sebring area.

The twilight air shows on Friday and Saturday were flown in light rain, but it did not dissuade pilots or spectators. Team AeroDynamix (a group of 11 Van's RVs) dazzled the crowd with a night routine that was nothing short of fantastic. It has been confirmed that they will participate at EAA AirVenture 2013.

Attendance at the Expo appeared to be lighter than previous years, according to some observers, but organizers are reporting excellent attendance numbers, so perhaps the new layout that added considerable open space in the center of the show contributed to the illusion of a decline. Nonetheless, there were plenty of people seriously looking over the display aircraft and trying out the cockpits of the various planes. Dealers were reporting sales and an increased presence of international buyers who have come to Sebring to shop for aircraft.

One of the new LSAs at Sebring was the Bristell Fastback by the Czech firm BRM Aero. The designer, Milan Bristella, who was responsible for the SportCruiser and had a hand in the design of the Evektor, has returned to an all-metal design maximized for strength, comfort, and easy handling. The smooth curves in the fuselage and in the wing and tail fairings indicate the sophistication of the design.

The World Aircraft Company of Paris, Tennessee, introduced the Vision LT, a low-cost version of the standard Vision model. It has a simpler panel, slightly thicker wing, and stall strips to give it a stall less than 40 knots. Previously the airframe was built in Columbia, but now the airplane is built entirely in the U.S. The company joins several others in the LSA field that are reversing the trend for outsourcing.

The only weight-shift LSA trike manufacturer at Sebring this year was Evolution Trikes, maker of the Revo. Evolution displayed three trikes including a new 100-hp version in black called the Monster.

Check the EAA Facebook page for pictures from Sebring and read a detailed report on what was new at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo.

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