What’s the best way to open a new sport aviation show? With a sport aviation flyover, of course!
During this morning’s opening ceremony for the 1st annual DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase, two waves of aircraft from the nearby Spruce Creek Fly-In community did a fly-by, including: four SX-300s flown by Keith Phillips, John Wilson, Jim Hoyt, and Jim Vitale; a Questair Venture flown by Tony Crawford, and a Harmon Rocket flown by Medford Bragg.
In a second wave, three general aviation (GA) and one light-sport aircraft represented flying for fun, including a Cessna 170 flown by Gary Sommerton, a Grumman Yankee flown by Mike Kubbs, a Grumman Tiger flown by Stu Morse, and an RV-12 built and flown by Dennis Powell. Thanks Spruce Creek folks for a great start to the Showcase!
With exhibitors filling all the outdoor spaces, Showcase 2016 was off to a great start for those who came to ogle…and buy airplanes. Reportedly, two aircraft exhibitors are already going home tonight with checks in their pockets! That’s another great start!
Charlie Becker, EAA’s Director of Chapters, Communities and Homebuilt Community Manager, opened the Showcase’s Speaker series at 1 p.m. today, evoking the wisdom of EAA Founder Paul H. Poberezny as it applies to the issues facing aviation in this 21st century. Charlie recounted quotes from Paul’s thousands of Homebuilder Corner columns to encourage recreational fliers to keep their passion alive … and to share that passion with others. He recalled Paul once saying, “Can there ever be too many airplanes?”
Elite Showcase sponsor Viking Aircraft Engines is enjoying having the DeLand Showcase close to its home base at nearby Massey Airpark. “It’s much easier for us to bring more examples of our product,” Viking owner Jon Eggenfellner said. “We’re delighted to have this show in our neighborhood.”
Jabiru NA of Shelbyville, Tennessee, flew two of its newest models to Showcase 2016 – the J170-D and J230D. The J170-D is powered by the 85-hp Jabiru engine and cruises at 100 knots per hour burning about 4 gph. It shares the same wing with the J230-D as well as landing gear and tail surfaces, though the cockpit is one inch wider.
The J230-D is based on the four-place Jabiru, but has only two seats and a large baggage area in the back with a separate access door. It’s powered by the six-cylinder Jabiru engine and cruises at 120 knots per hour.
AeroJones, the new owners of the CT series of special light-sport aircraft, is introducing its new U.S. distributor, AeroJones Americas, at the Showcase. AeroJones has brought a number of models of CTs in from its current U.S. base at Tamiami Airport in Miami. AeroJones has been manufacturing the CT for the past two years in association with Flight Design GmbH. One of the newest items on display at AeroJones Americas’ booth is a CT with Dynon’s newest Skyview HDX avionics package.
When we saw a Kitfox Model 7 on the line, we thought they might be the winners of the “flown the longest distance award,” but it turns out this aircraft was flown in from Wilmington, North Carolina, by owner Jimmy Miller. However, company owner John McBean did airline it in from Idaho for the Showcase.
DeLand Municipal Airport is just a 30-minute drive from Daytona Beach, home of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and it brought one of the current technology projects from its Eagle Flight Research Center – an electric-powered Diamond Katana HK 36 motorglider. The Research Center team is currently designing battery packs and energy management systems for the aircraft, which will be powered by 2,880 lithium ion 18650GA batteries housed in 24 battery packs. First flights are anticipated in April 2017.
M-Squared Aviation is participating in Showcase 2016, sharing the news about its new program offering builder assistance to Zenith Aircraft airframe owners of Zenith CH 650, STOL CH 750, or CH 750 Cruzer models, calling it the “Two Week Wonder” program.
Another new aircraft on the field today was JMB Aircraft’s VL-3 Evolution. The all-composite aircraft has a range of 1,200 nautical miles, lands in 500 feet, cruises at 150 knots per hour, burns 5 gph, and has a payload of 525 pounds. Where do you want to travel in comfort and style, they ask.
All in all, it was great day at Showcase 2016…the weather was warm and sunny with light winds, there were aircraft, people, food vendors, fly-bys, forums and demonstrations … and we’ll do it all again over the next two days.
It’s not too late to make your plans to visit DeLand Showcase 2016!