On Friday, January 27th I made the voyage south to Sebring, Florida for the Sebring Sport Aviation Expo. This was my first visit to the event and I can say it was well worth the trip. Just a few months ago, back in November, I attended a Sport Aviation Showcase in DeLand, Florida. That event was in its first year, whereas the Sebring event is in its 13th year!
The well-established Sebring event had a lot to offer. Held at the Sebring Regional Airport, which is co-located with Sebring International Raceway, it wasn’t surprising that attendees had the ability to test driving various vehicles, on the airport pavement! Additionally, and more aviation related in nature, visitors had the ability to take helicopter rides, participate in a kit building activity with Zenith aircraft and new this year, attendees were able to visit the “Drone Home.”
Looking to open the event to a new demographic, organizers invited in the drone community. The drone zone (as I called it) including indoor and outdoor exhibition areas was very busy, and clearly very popular. There was a drone competition going on during the day on Friday too; it provided some excitement in addition to the wide variety of fly-by and exhibitions by all of the (manned) aircraft on hand.
The event consisted of multiple components. There were exhibitors in the FBO building, exhibitors in tents as well as a large group of outdoor vendors where there were a variety of aircraft on display. Visitors could also attend seminars for manned and unmanned flying!
My initial take away was that the event was the perfect size, it wasn’t too big and it wasn’t too small. The crowd size seemed very good, there were a lot of people. The venue could have held many more, but the event did not feel empty like the DeLand event did last November. To be fair this was the 13th Sebring event, whereas DeLand is just getting going. I’m sure in time the DeLand event will ramp up.
It was good to see that the interest in Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) has continued in light of the recent announcement from the FAA about 3rd Class medical reform. I believe that even with the BasicMed rule, the LSA segment of the aviation industry will continue to thrive. Either way, I continue to be impressed by the number of options available on the LSA market, pilots have such a wide variety of options, it’s great to see.
If you haven’t been to the Sebring Regional Airport for the Sport Aviation Expo, make sure you plan to attend next year and check it out in 2018!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9