Beautiful skies and 80 degrees greeted the sparse attendance for the first day of the four-day Sebring Sport Aviation Expo. Bigger crowds expected tomorrow and Saturday, along with strong winds and sunny skies.The Breezer flight team: left to right, Randy Wildman, Angel Castellanos, Mike Zidziunas and Philip Herrington. Castellanos and Herrington are pilots who earned their ratings under Mike Z’s tutelage at his Breezer Aircraft USA flight school, now located at Lakeland Linder Airport, home of the Sun ‘n Fun airshow every spring. The team will also kick off twi-night flying the next two nights, featuring airshow aerobatic legend Patty Wagstaff and other top acts.
The new Golden Avia F-30, still in the process of ASTM certification, made its Sebring debut.
The jam-packed analog-centric panel of the Golden Avia F-30.
Mike Z leads the formation flight of Breezer LSA to officially open the Expo.
Dan Johnson, right, introduces former FAA head Randy Babbitt, who impressed the crowd with a speech highly appreciative of the LSA industry and its progress so far. “I’m fascinated by the technology and enthusiasm of your industry. You deserve more credit than you get for your inspiration to General Aviation and I don’t say that lightly. You’ve also shown your willingness to take risks in marketing and have demonstrated the importance of self-governance and safety since day one. FAA (during his term) was enthusiastic about the great safety record of LSA.” He urged the members to continue their efforts to consider the NBAA model of training independent auditors for monitoring compliance to ASTM standards and adopting SMS, Safety Management System oversight to minimize the chance of human error, even as technology improves the safety of the aircraft themselves. A rousing talk and kudos to Dan Johnson for bringing his welcome and supportive perspective to the Expo.
The Breezer flight team: left to right, Randy Wildman, Angel Castellanos, Mike Zidziunas and Philip Herrington. Castellanos and Herrington are pilots who earned their ratings under Mike Z’s tutelage at his Breezer Aircraft USA flight school, now located at Lakeland Linder Airport, home of the Sun ‘n Fun airshow every spring. The team will also kick off twi-night flying the next two nights, featuring airshow aerobatic legend Patty Wagstaff and other top acts.
LAMA’s Prez Dan Johnson had several bits of news before introducing former FAA chief Randy Babbitt. Highlights: “In the beginning of LSA, not losing your medical was considered the best reason for buying an LSA. Now we’ve got 20 of them.” He’ll present those arguments in prominent slide show displays throughout Oshkosh. Some changes to his LSA Mall exhibits at Sun ‘n Fun and Oshkosh AirVenture this year include moving the mall to Paradise City at Sun ‘n Fun 2013, where show visitors will be able to talk to dealers and also get demo flights all in the same place, at the 1400-foot, much improved sport flying airstrip on the southeast end of the field. This a welcome improvement and something Dan has tirelessly worked to bring about. The Mall, less well supported at Oshkosh, “didn’t work as we hoped,” says Dan, will be modified to include presences within the main exhibitor buildings.
Jan Fridrich, head of LAMA Europe, laid some good statistics on us during the annual LAMA Exhibitors dinner at the airfield tonight. Highlights: Since the LSA rules became effective in April 2005, 2471 SLSA have been registered with FAA. The numbers for 2012 were 258 — down 8% from last year. Yet LSA remains one of the strongest sectors in all of General Aviation and has weathered the recession reasonably well.
Sebring is off and running! The day in pix and captions…