Sebring Light Sport Expo, Friday: Airplanes, Innovation and FAST cars

2:34 PM

The removable panel in World Aircraft's display model
demonstrates some of the innovation found at the show
By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor

After a few hours of walking around the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, I am convinced this is the place to be if Light Sport aircraft is even remotely on your radar screen.

This niche of our GA world is on full display here in Sebring, and it is like a giant shopping mall, only instead of Dog-on-a-Stick, they have a really impressive selection of LSAs to fill your hangar.

Something I did not expect: I knew that KSEF sits next to Sebring international Raceway, and assumed it was used for club sports car drivers to come wring out their 911s. But as we exited our rental car in the media lot nestled right up next to one of the track's high-speed turns, I was BLOWN AWAY to see Indy cars running some full-out practice laps. I was like "airplanes, RACE CARS, airplanes, RACE CARS!" So many shiny objects...

There is interesting hardware everywhere on the ramp here at Sebring. And in an evolving LSA world, one company that is keeping the sector's reputation for innovation alive is World Aircraft. Their President, Eric Giles was proud to point to the removable panel in his display airplane. Think giant kitchen drawer with a full array of glass avionics in it. To work on the panel, just pull it out like you are pulling out your kitchen drawer to grab a steak knife, remove a couple of 28-pin connectors, and set the entire panel on the seat, or relocate it to a test bench. Putting it back in is as easy as putting that drawer back in...pure genius.

Giles says the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo makes perfect sense to attend as a vendor. "Here," he said, "everyone is interested in Light Sport aircraft, and we make sales. For LSAs, Sebring is the show we always want to attend." Asked what he thought of any current trends for the LSA market, Giles said 2014 has produced a thick order book through June for the Paris, TN-based company, and that "2015 and 2016 should be really good growth years for LSAs."

In fact, Airplanista tried to ask that same question to other vendors at the Sebring show, but on two occasions, they were too busy to even answer. And in the trade show business, when you have no time to talk to the media, it's a great problem to have.

One last task lies ahead for the Airplanista crew here in Sebring. We are headed to the shore of Lake Jackson to dine on the deck overlooking the seaplanes to talk LSAs while listening to the Flying Musicians.

See? You really should have came to the show. Well...there is always next year ;)

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