Sebring: The vast new world of Light Sport aviation awaits

12:12 AM

One of the highlights of my first "Sebring" will be
seeing the Van's Aircraft's certified S-LSA RV-12s
By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor

As I write this, American Airlines flight 1386 has just blasted off from KDFW direct Orlando so I can go hang with all my #avgeek pals at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo at the Sebring (FL) Regional Airport. 

I ended up in Dallas after a two-day stop in Fresno to photograph the completely unbelievable fully-staged new production of Les Misérables being presented by my ad agency's long-time client, Fresno Grand Opera. That shoot went flawlessly, and once "in the can" I was able to start really getting excited about the Light Sport show. While not confirmed, I might be the only person at the show that had to go through Fresno to get to Sebring. But if that's what it takes...

Why am I so excited about attending this show for the first time? Simple...because the climate is perfect right now in our aviation world for Light Sport airplanes and the Sport Pilot Certificate to finally get a solid footing. 

Everything is pointing to Light Sport...fuel costs, training costs, FAA medical  regulations that just seem to be getting more challenging by the week. Sure, the missions flown by LSAs tend to lean heavily towards the recreational side of flying. They may not be all things to all pilots. But as we look towards the near and distant future of GA, there is a definate place for Light Sport, and each time the price of 100LL avgas goes up, the sector becomes that much more attractive. 

So I will be reporting from the show and see what the vibe is down there. I will let the hard news guys break stories of each and every new product that is announced. My task is to talk to both LSA buyers and sellers and take the pulse of the sector. What are people talking about? What is important to everyone involved going forward?

I've been thinking a lot about what I expect to find at this show. For certain, there will be the latest models from the big names in Light Sport...makers like Van's, Cubcrafters and Flight Design. But around each corner will be surprises, new models featuring new innovations, more of the cool stuff that gets #avgeeks like me running from booth to booth. I fully expect to learn about new Light Sport designs that are just coming on the market. More great machines that cost less to fly and and sleek, with glass panels and a reasonable price tag. 

The highlight of this Sebring show for Airplanista will undoubtedly the new certified S-LSA RV-12s from Van's Aircraft. Readers of this blog know this exciting new factory-built airplane is made at my home field, and my enthusiasm for the RV-12 is off the charts. There is a VERY solid future brewing for this $123,000 entry from Van's, and the market is right for a well-engineered ship like this, coming from a maker with a strong, established reputation for quality.

Watch Airplanista for my updates from the show as time permits. 

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