Manufacturers Revved Up; Sean Tucker Rolls Columbia?

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AVweb's special coverage of the Sun 'n Fun air show at Lakeland, Florida, begins today. Watch for special issues of AVwebFlash Wednesday and Friday this week.

In the mix of pre-Sun 'n Fun press releases that jams our inbox at this time of year, we haven't yet been able to detect any "brand new" airplane design announcements. April 1 produced some buzz that Mooney is stepping up to reclaim its former position as the "fastest" production single with a plane that will challenge the reigning speedster, the Columbia 400. But expect the Columbia 400SL to express some unusual attitude at the hands of air show performer extraordinaire, Sean D. Tucker. "All maneuvers demonstrated fall within the Columbia's higher G limit load for Utility Category aircraft," according to the press release. And Tucker adds, "The 400 recovers from spins more predictably than many aerobatic aircraft I've flown." Find the show at 30 locations across the country highlighting Tucker's Executive Pilot Awareness Training School -- first stop, Lakeland. On the lighter side, the Legend Cub Special is the latest copy Cub from American Legend. Have a look for it in the Cub Convoy that lands at Lakeland, today. And there will be engine news at this year's event. Frank Thielert, president of Thielert AG, will hold a news conference with Tim Archer, CEO of Superior Air Parts, to explain what the future holds for the newly-combined operation. Thielert, which makes diesel aircraft engines in Germany, has purchased Superior, which makes one model of certified gasoline engine and non-certified variants for the experimental market. The deal was finalized on Friday. Lycoming has also invited press attention at Sun 'n Fun but there's no indication of any product announcements.