2015 Expo

If you're interested in all things Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft, this is the place to be every January! Mark your calendars. http://www.sport-aviation-expo.com

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Jack Tyler
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Location: Jacksonville, FL

Re: 2015 Expo

Postby Jack Tyler » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:42 am

"Just makes me wonder…wasn't this year the 'Affordable aircraft Expo?"."

Only if we assume a 'build it and they will come' attitude. Jana Filip along with the show owner and Sebring's city & airport folks have made multiple, well intentioned changes in how the show has been branded over the years in hopes of finding a broader audience (both show-go'ers and exhibitors). Their goal this year was in part to attract exhibitors with low-priced a/c for sale (both private & commercial sales). But they can't mandate participation by exhibitors, only invite it. Meanwhile, much of the retail S-LSA activity seems to be following one of two divergent paths: plush models with high-end finishes and matching sales prices or (relatively) low-priced models - let's call them high on the value/cost scale, like AeroTrek and Vans - who's dealers/distributors can only afford so many exhibition dollars. And as the show has demonstrated year after year, there is only a limited demand for new LSA a/c when measured against the potential supply from dealers/distributors.

Paul Bertorelli (AVweb & Aviation Consumer) had an interesting editorial a few days ago which in essence argued that EXPO has some quite positive & unique things to offer (inviting winter location, more intimate setting, adjacent flight line, demo flights available) but needs to expand its critical mass. He reasoned you could match it up with e.g. AOPA's flying club initiative, perhaps the growing refurb businesses and other commercial aviation elements, which in turn would bootstrap the attendance figures, both thru the gate and exhibitors. IOW broaden the 'content' of the show. The problem of course is that those 'other elements' all work off limited budgets as well, so the only WIIFM available to them would be longer term and IF this approach is successful. It's always seemed to me that the general LSA 'movement' has never really succeeded in bootstrapping itself into a mature industry with a collective, longer term vision. Nor has it been fully adopted or embraced by the existing GA industry. We see pockets of excellence because there are sone excellent LSA products and also some excellent training programs but to my eye they stand out as exceptions rather than the rule. And current events don't seem to suggest this is going to change much in the near term. Fortunately, it at least works for some folks keen on aviation and flying, like many of the active posters here.
Flying in/out KBZN, Bozeman MT in a Grumman Tiger
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Re: 2015 Expo

Postby designrs » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:24 am

The expo crowd and exhibits did seem to cater to three types:

1) Buyers that have money and like to buy modern aircraft $120k to $200k and are into exciting, new and modern aircraft. For them this is "affordable". A person could buy a sporty low-wing aircraft, a backcountry taildragger, and an amphibious craft all for less than the price of a single new Cirrus. Granted many of us are not in that position, but affordability is relative.

This is the market that probably has the most action. Bristell sold a couple of planes. I'd imaging that Tecnam and SeaRey did too. This probably explains Tecnam's turbo equipped bias in presentation. Lots of nice planes, something flashy and new for the buyer that walks in and says, "I'll take this one please."

2) Options under $80k. Lots of kits that could be purchased assembled (or as owner assisted build) as E-LSA. Many price nitches especially in taildragger STOL and Amphibious.

3) Builders looking at kits.

Lots of range was shown at the expo.
Something for everyone.

Will post photo examples.

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