The last scheduled event of the EAA's Sport Pilot Tour took place this past weekend at Brown Field in sport-pilot-friendly San Diego and capped a 13-stop run that began in 2005. AVweb was there to collect a summation from industry advocate Dan Johnson, who told us enthusiasm for the category (mostly from an estimated 100,000 pilots nearing or already enjoying their golden years) currently has demand outpacing supply. Deliveries for aircraft ordered today have, for many manufacturers, backed up until next March or April, said Johnson, and the small, local events that often included less than 20 static display aircraft seduced about 500 to 800 enthusiasts per stop.
The automall-style layout of the events placed competing manufacturers of very similar aircraft side by side, but Johnson says the format also produced a surprisingly open and inviting environment and sense of community. According to Johnson, there are more buyers than aircraft. Interested aviators and enthusiasts will watch for the US Sport Aviation Expo scheduled for Jan. 10 to 14 in Sebring, Fla. As yet there is no schedule for continuation of the Sport Pilot Tour.
Click here for a gallery of AVweb photos from the event.