...The Sport Pilot Buzz Turns Literal...

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And, of course, get ready for a torrent of information, seminars and hangar talk about the Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft rule (which, incidentally, will be published in the Federal Register on AirVenture's opening day, July 27, wink, wink). EAA has been the driving force behind the entirely new class of aircraft and pilot certificate. And, although it's been nine years of tough slogging to create the rule, in many ways the real work is just beginning. Integrating the new system into the tried-and-true will be a years-long process that begins this week. As part of the process, the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) will hold a meeting with flight schools and university flight programs on July 30 to set the agenda for a much larger NAFI symposium planned for the fall. AirVenture is, fundamentally, about education, so expect the a healthy dose of Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft-related seminars in addition to the normal range of topics covered in the pavilions.

...And The Last Preparations Are Made

Crowds at the AirVenture grounds were light Saturday, but officials say not to worry (matching well with the fact the show hasn't started yet) ... and the really big show of planes landing and tents being pitched were due on Sunday and Monday. The first to cross over Ripon just after 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning was Shreveport, La., pilot Robert Baillio in his Paul Poberezny-built Acro-SportII. Baillio and friends were early enough to secure a primo camping spot perfectly situated under a stand of trees and close enough to port-a-lets to be convenient, but not close enough to be inconvenient, if you get our drift. The predominant sound over the early part of the weekend wasn't the hum of props but the bang of hammers and whir of drills. All the exhibitors are setting up, preparing for what they hope will be large crowds with big eyes and pockets filled with cash. Credit will do, too.