As Day Three arrived, blue skies returned to Sebring after a damp start on Day Two and with them came the best crowds of pilots and companions of any day so far …by far. As you see in the lead photo (home page), crowds were often so thick around aircraft that a picture barely showed the flying machine. It was a fun if chilly day and the mood of pilots and aircraft reps was upbeat.
I was also informed that a number of paid sales went down and prospects are talking seriously about other purchases. Most aircraft vendors know a purchase of this size may warrant additional thought post-event but clearly some customers had come ready to deal.
For years I’ve maintained that sector-specific shows like Sebring produce more sales per visitor than the big shows. Neither pilots nor vendors can miss Sun ‘n Fun or Oshkosh and still claim to be true-blue aviators. Yet events like Sebring, Midwest, and DeLand make connections between ready-to-buy pilots and aircraft sellers at a fairly consistent rate.
Deals, Dreams, & Parties
Infinity Power Parachutes — We shot a video interview with Frank Williams of Infinity Power Parachutes. He is taking over the company from Alvie Wall but the founder will stay involved to help. They’ve been working together as Frank transitioned into the business.
We reviewed the current line-up of Infinity models. Their Challenger is a single place, Rotax 503-powered, true Part 103 aircraft that sells ready-to-fly complete with big off-runway tires, 375 square-foot canopy, and engine instrumentation for mere $17,000. Given the average price of a new car in America is now reported at $33,000, I’d said Challenger qualifies as a bargain aircraft.
You may not think of yourself as a powered parachute pilot but my personal experience is these aircraft offer the best visibility in aviation combined with slow flying speeds (30s mph) that allow you thoroughly absorb the view.
The two Commander models are powered either by the Rotax 582 (65 horsepower) or the Rotax 912 (80-100 horsepower). These tandem two place aircraft use a 500 or 550 square-foot canopy. Like Challenger, Infinity offers the two Commanders as ready-to-fly Special LSA. Delivery takes only four weeks and your aircraft will be delivered factory test-flown.
All Infinity models use a dual three-inch angle beam structure that provides exceptional strength. Frontal bars preferred by some pilots are not needed for structural integrity, said Frank.
Titan Aircraft T-51 — On Day One, I wrote about Titan Aircraft‘s sleek two place kit called Tornado. Today I want to show you an image of their subsequent — but completely different — T-51, a Mustang replica that is amazingly true to form. Look for yourself.
I had quite the experience flying the original prototype many years back and I can attest this is one interesting flying machine. I’ve also flown in a striking Stewart P-51 lookalike powered by a 450-horsepower Corvette engine but I’ve never gone aloft in a full military North American P-51 with 1,695 horsepower. However, for capable kit builders T-51 can deliver an intense sensation of nostalgia and a taste of what it must have been like for hundreds of twenty-something fighter jocks in World War II. Hoo, rah!
Although T-51 is not a Light-Sport Aircraft, it was released in the same year of the very first SLSA acceptances by FAA, 2005.
Duc Propellers USA — After reliving my vivid Mustang experience I needed to relax. What better way to do that than to attend the Duc Propellers grand opening party celebrating the French prop maker’s new USA headquarters at the Sebring airport.
The new facilities will provide North American sales, service, and maintenance for the Duc line of props. A spacious hangar has been leased at Sebring with offices and work areas provided by the airport.
Lead by their capable outreach man, Michael Dederian, Duc has made great inroads into the Light-Sport and Sport Pilot Kit space. At the kick-off party, Duc assembled an impressive number of airplanes from the Expo — each fitted with Duc props, of course — providing a mini-airshow right outside their quarters. I estimate around 250 attended their party, which was very professionally organized and catered. Go, Duc!