By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Small towns in central Florida are taking advantage of their sunny climate and abundant lakes to attract aviation businesses. The town of Tavares recently became the new home for Progressive Aerodyne, the manufacturer of the SeaRey amphibian, and now two other aviation companies have made plans to locate in nearby towns next year, the Orlando Sentinel reported this week. ItalicoAviationUSA will open a plant in Kissimmee, and Wipaire will open a service center in Leesburg.
ItalicoAviationUSA, a spinoff of EuroALA, will build light sport aircraft at its new facility, expected to open next month. The company plans to invest more than $3.2 million and create 55 new jobs over the next four years, according to a news release from the city. The workers will build the FX-1 LSA, which is designed to run on auto fuel and sells for about $98,000. According to the Sentinel, the company also plans to manufacture a four-seat airplane and an electric-powered aircraft. Wipaire, the well-known float manufacturer based in Minnesota, plans to offer aircraft and float maintenance, avionics repair and installations, aircraft interior refurbishments and float installations as well as installations of select Wipaire modifications at its new Florida service center. The facility, at the Leesburg airport, is expected to open in February.