Sun ‘n Fun is a big show for most aviation concerns but it’s especially important for the up-and-coming Light Sport Aircraft manufacturers. And they’re not going to let anything like taking a direct hit from a tornado keep them from the show. Sportair USA’s hangar in North Little Rock, Ark., was in the path of a small (ef1) tornado sporting winds of up to 110 mph on Apr. 3. The briefly destructive storm twisted one hangar into a pile of rubble that collapsed on a brand-new Sting Sport LSA. Another hangar was simply carried away, leaving nothing but the concrete slab. Luckily, SportairUSA founder Bill Canino was in a hangar that survived the onslaught.
“What I’ve always been told, is true,” Canino said. “There was the sound of a rushing freight train. Everything in the hangar shook, the ductwork was banging against the metal walls. I thought the building was moving. Then the wind was gone and the rain beat on the roof.” The surviving hangar is the core of the operation so business has continued without interruption, and that includes heading to Sun ‘n Fun.
Want to get more kids into aviation? The way to do that is to meet them at least halfway to where they live: simulators, drones and the intersection of these devices with what actually leaves the ground. More