Signs Of Spring -- New Deals, New Products

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Amid all the economic gloom, a bright spot is growing -- with the approach of spring, and the imminence of the season-opener shows at Aero Friedrichshafen and Sun 'n Fun, bargains for pilots are flowing into our inbox every day, and manufacturers are rolling out new products. Socata announced on Wednesday that it will now offer Garmin's synthetic vision technology in the TBM 850. LSA builder Tecnam has a new model, the P2008. Compared to earlier models, the P2008 has a new wing, a bigger cabin and larger doors. (Click here for a recent AVweb podcast about flying cross-country in a Tecnam LSA.) Other new deals we heard about this week include an amphibious float kit for the Storm Rally LSA, for $9,995, and a new price from Team Tango for its quick-build aircraft, with savings of about $5,000 on each model for the next 90 days. Add in the substantial Glasair Sportsman discounts we told you about on Monday, and the new Super Sport Cub from CubCrafters, and it's like a breath of fresh air.

And more good news: Airshows are expecting an attendance surge this summer. "Families are cutting costs, but they're still looking for quality entertainment," said John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows. "That's why airshow attendance spikes in a bad economy. Ticket prices are low, but the entertainment value is high." Cudahy reported a 12- to 15-percent increase in airshow attendance during 2008, which followed patterns witnessed during earlier recessions. Spring shows in Florida so far have reported robust crowds, and more than 10 million spectators are expected at about 400 shows in the U.S. and Canada this year, according to the ICAS.