Many years ago — back in February 2020 — I attended my last airshow. Fortunately, that was not the dark ending to a most trying year.
For 2020, the next airshow is Mt. Vernon Airport’s (KMVN) Midwest LSA Expo — slated for September 10-11-12, 2020. Hurray!
I don’t know about you (certainly not everyone, I am aware) but I am raring to go. Airshows dictate my annual calendar so this virus-infested year has done a job on my collection of great airplane info to present to you. Fortunately, I have found plenty of other newsworthy materials, but, man!, am I happy to go to Mt. Vernon this year.
Those considering attending MWLSA but who are concerned about exposure to the virus can check out their Covid-19 preparations.
GO, Mt. Vernon!
“We believe we have good plans in place to keep everyone safe while meeting the mandates set out by various organizations,” said affable and energetic airport manager, Chris Collins. “We feel we can safely comply.”
“However, we are not taking this lightly,” he added quickly. “We simply think the industry and the economy needs to move forward.”
Midwest LSA Expo started back in 2009 with an open and welcoming atmosphere. This will be the 12th annual MWLSA, a credit to the persistence of Chris and his team.
For 2020, the MWLSA group has word from nearby EAA chapters and other groups that enjoy a fly-out to some destination. “Several have expressed a strong interest in attending,” Chris said.
One indication is business the Mt. Vernon’s airport restaurant has been doing. Readers may recall this long-running success story went through a management change in recent years and what was good is now even better. “Our restaurant has been staying busy after reopening a few weeks ago. We’ve had lots of people flying in to visit and dine,” reported Chris.
Will It Be Safe?
Pilots go to show to look at airplanes, to talk to the people representing them, and, if shopping for a new airplane purchase, to go for a flight in those of greatest interest.
I love that MWLSA has surrounded its logo with the words, “The Sales & Demo Show …Freedom, Friends, Fun!” In eight brief words, that captures why you should attend.
All through this year, as people have asked, I have replied that the Midwest LSA Expo has been social distancing since it began. We didn’t use that phrase back then but a wide open ramp, well-spaced aircraft, representatives behind their table or on the other side of their airplane or other flying product, and the personal caution anyone can follow will allow good aviation interaction with minimal exposure.
Of course, no one can guarantee you won’t be exposed but the odds are low — Mt. Vernon has suffered few cases of Covid-19 — and you have good opportunity to keep as much distance as you wish while still attending an airplane event.
Other precautionary steps include moving the forums to a hangar where attendees can space out further. This show always provides a full room for my talk — this year I’ll focus on the upcoming FAA regulation project for 2023. I’m pleased and proud to fill a room but this year, we’ll spread out more to assure those with the highest concerns.
The opening evening party Chris has thrown every year, complete with live entertainment and good eats, will not happen this year.
What To See and Fly
The biggest question is who will show with their airplane. Following is a partial list of those bound to be interesting to attending pilots and friends.
Vashon Aircraft, SD Planes, and Aeromarine LSA are scheduled to make their first appearance at the 12-year-old event. Another brand new aircraft, the MC-01 from Montaer in Brazil, may also show, assuming U.S. Customs does not hold up the arrival. Unfortunately, that’s not certain. For example, Aero Adventure has finished work on their SLSA Aventura but has been waiting for more than four months for an FAA visit from nearby Orlando. “They haven’t been given permission yet,” said boss Alex Rolinski, so the Montaer arrival is far from sure.
Still, it’s great to see four brand-new exhibitors even in a year beset by a virus panic.
Other attendees will include Magnus and their Fusion LSA; Flight Design and longtime partner Airtime Aviation will show their new F2 for the first time; Deon Lombard’s AeroPilot USA will have a never-before-seen M-8 Eagle; the local dealer for SportCruiser will attend; ICP will present their Savannah STOL aircraft plus their associates from Flying Legends will show the Tucano; Aeroprakt will have their Vixxen; Magni will show their gyroplanes; Infinity Powered Parachutes is returning with their line, and a special treat will be SmithSilver, guru Mark Smith’s rethinking of the venerable Quicksilver.
That list is not complete. Please go to the show’s website to see the whole exhibitor list. Even this may expand as more companies consider that this might be the only remaining airshow for 2020.
A few “legacy exhibitors” cannot get comfortable with the Covid-19 situation. Some, like Rob Rollison and his Aerotrek line remain uncertain and will not attend,” noted Chris. However, exhibitor participation looks surprisingly solid.
Indeed, “Midwest 2020 is shaping up to offer the best representation yet of the lighter end of recreational aviation,” concluded Chris.
I’ll be in Mt. Vernon
I hope you will be, too!
Hotels and restaurants are also prepared to handle you safely. The town’s best hotel (in my opinion) is the Drury, which offers a great price ($95 a night at MWLSA’s group rate; use link) for rooms plus several worthwhile amenities.
Several restaurants are not far away and they are prepared like most American restaurants these days to handle you as safely as they can.
At the end of our conversation, Chris added, “Mt. Vernon has two Interstate highways that bring passersby from many states. Our town has been able to accommodate them safely and we can put on a safe airshow, too!” Anyone who knows Chris is aware he is a straight-shooter.