A Little Good News - Vendor Sales Up, Build-A-Plane Auction

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Amid all the economic doom and gloom, we're glad to serve you a helping of upbeat positive news. First, Aircraft Spruce said this week that its sales at last month's AOPA Expo in San Jose, Calif., were its best ever in 20 years at the show, with a dramatic increase over 2007. "We were very pleased with the attendance at Expo and the enthusiasm and optimism we saw among general aviation pilots," said Aircraft Spruce President Jim Irwin. "Sales were brisk across all product lines at the show, and were especially strong among the latest portables, such as the Garmin GPSMAP 696 and the Honeywell AV8R GPS." The latest Garmin gizmo has pilots excited, you can check it out in detail via our recent AVweb video. Also, more positive news this week from Build A Plane, the folks who collect ragged old airplanes and unfinished projects and give them a new mission teaching school kids about aviation. They have just launched this year's fundraising auction on eBay. Items up for bid include stick time in an Eclipse 500 jet, Patty Wagstaff's flight suit, a ride in a B-25 bomber, a Honeywell AV8TOR MFD and even a 1949 classic Model A35 Beechcraft Bonanza.

All the money raised goes directly to support efforts to promote general aviation and education. BAP solicits aircraft donations then redirects those aircraft free of charge to high schools across the country. Students build or refurbish real airplanes and learn science, math, technology and engineering along the way. Close to 100 aircraft so far have been donated to kids across the U.S.