In perfect weather and overlapped with the NBAA convention in Orlando, the Deland Sport Aviation Showcase opened Thursday morning with about 100 exhibitors. This is the Showcase’s first year and it’s clearly positioned to compete with the Sport Aviation Expo to be held in January in Sebring.
With broad support from the Deland Airport, show director Jana Filip told AVweb on Thursday that the city sees enough potential in light sport aircraft to invest in the development of a sport aviation village on the airport. “And when I say a village, I don’t mean a village where people live but where airplanes live,” Filip said during an interview on the opening day of the show. The airport has carved out 40 acres for sport aviation activities, including manufacturing and sales. The sport aviation village will be completed in four phases, the first of which is already underway with the construction of taxiways and hangars. The city also plans to build at least five large hangars suitable for manufacturing.
Filip said the Showcase is intended as a natural support activity for the light sport industry and it got off to a good start on Thursday with about 100 exhibitors, both indoor and outdoor. Although lightly attended in the morning, the crowds picked up a little in the afternoon and the flight demo area is located conveniently near the static display area. As at the Sebring show, there are forums and food services on the field.
“The two go hand in hand. The village is an anchor for the Showcase,” Filip said in this video interview on Thursday. “It was important to me that we establish a solid foundation for the Showcase and we came up with a layout that we like. Our goals are clearly to develop around the sport aviation community,” Filip said. Several vendors we spoke to like the show’s design and layout, but they were withholding judgment to see how many attend. The show continues through Saturday. You can find out more on the organization’s website.
Filip previously oversaw the annual Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, but left that organization when the Deland Airport approached her about organizing a similar event. She said the Deland Showcase will continue to schedule a fall date while the competing Expo in Sebring occurs in mid-January, when weather in Florida has proven to be iffy.