Airplane Overload — Imagine a gymnasium, the full court kind where basketball is played. Imagine ten of them placed side by side. Big space, huh? Now imagine all of them filled to capacity with aircraft and airplane gear of every imaginable sort. Presto! You’ve got Aero Friedrichshafen. No wonder we go year after year (I think this was my tenth Aero and, for certain, I’m going again). In this wrap up post, I’ll provide a few more views of this truly excellent event. Good as my reporting hopefully is, however, true-blue aviation enthusiasts owe it to themselves to make the trip to the southern edge of Germany for this outstanding (nearly) all-indoor aviation extravaganza. I can find so many good reasons to like Aero, I’m sure you’d be pleased if you attend.
Final Facts and Videos — Aero Show Director Roland Bosch somehow made time in what must be an awesomely tight schedule to let us tape a video with him and his U.S. representative. The video will be up soon but here’s a couple facts of interest. Aero had some 630 exhibitors. That is second or third only to NBAA and AirVenture. It is larger, by exhibitor count, than Sun ‘n Fun or AOPA Summit. It is one of aviation’s biggest events and is surely the biggest in Europe. This year drew more than 33,000 attendees, said Roland before he even had the full count of the final day. The four day event runs Wednesday through Saturday — a fact appreciated by every exhibitor who must race home to tend to business on Monday. Aero ceased doing an airshow as they realize that exhibitors and attendees don’t need to be distracted by aerobatics; I heard no complaints as the majority are present to talk and examine aircraft and flight gear. In four fast-paced days, my video partner and I recorded more than 30 new videos at Aero 2013. Watch for these here and on YouTube once editing is completed.
It’s All About the Airplanes! — While the halls are big and comfortable, the food is great, weather is never a problem, and the surrounding area is picture-postcard beautiful, the main attraction at Aero is the airplanes. As we made our videos we focused on aircraft of all kinds that you can buy and fly in America, but we also reviewed ones you may never see but which were fun to examine. The accompanying photos represent a small handful of our subjects. For example, we did a whole-line review of the many LSA in Tecnam‘s growing fleet. The newest is the lovely and large Astore commemorating the company’s 65th year in business. We also did a whole-line review of FK Lightplanes and TL Ultralights. I think you’ll like them. We did a video on the new electric Evektor. They brought the EPOS merely to showcase the future but had no less than 10 requests to buy one. Available sooner will be the former Flightstar, now Yuneec eSpyder, which was able to boast earning German Type Certification. Watch for this exciting all-electric single seater to be available in the USA perhaps later this year for about $40,000 ready to fly, including a slick new panel displaying Yuneec’s custom-built electric motor management software.
More and More … We got a look at the new Rotax 912 iS version of the Magnaghi SkyArrow. As you look at the nearby photo see if you can tell how the landing gear differs (surprise hint: this one has retractable gear). The model has other useful changes as well. We looked into the SkyLeader line. You may not recall this design but an earlier version has been in the USA for years as the Kappa KP-5. Now they’ve linked up with new U.S. representation and plan to bring in the new SkyLeader 600. The company has a full line of handsome airplanes one of which is a single seat model. Future articles will tell you more about single place aircraft at Aero and about the new 120-kilogram (264 pound) empty weight aircraft class that is emerging in Europe.
Finally — for this article but we’ll have more in the days to come — check out yet another good looking amphibious seaplane. No, this isn’t Icon, or any of the others covered in a previous article. This is the Avana Odonata and she reportedly weighs a svelte 560 kilograms at maximum take off weight. That’s just 1,232 pounds (which, BTW, was the original weight proposed for all Light-Sport Aircraft before the SP/LSA rule was released in 2004). As I bubble with excitement over the cool flock of airplanes I saw in Europe, I must add a disclaimer that not all these aircraft may be available in the USA and some won’t ever make it to market or if they do, they may not succeed with buyers. Still, it was loads of fun to look them over and I’ll keep reporting more in the days ahead. Click back soon!