The 10th annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo will take center stage at Sebring Regional Airport this weekend. Gates will open Thursday for a four-day exhibit of aircraft and all things related to aviation.
The U.S. Sport Aviation Expo returning to its original format as an exhibition-only event this year. The focus will be on aircraft, avionics, aviation equipment, and flying activities.
Indoor exhibits will again be housed in two large tents positioned in the center of the event’s pedestrian traffic pattern and adjacent to a food court area.
“We’re excited to begin preparations in earnest for our 10th annual event,” Expo Director Jana Filip said. “We’ve finalized the event layout with just a few minor changes. We look forward to working with our exhibitors. And we look forward to welcoming new exhibitors as well.”
The Expo will also offer a variety of educational forums and workshops, and the Seaplane Pilots’ Association will again host a seaplane base on nearby Lake Jackson.
“We welcomed more than 17,500 visitors to our event last year,” Filip said. “This year we’ve organized an even more interesting program of activities, and we look forward to welcoming you to our 10th annual aviation celebration.”
Local pilots of homebuilt aircraft are especially invited to fly their aircraft to the event for display. Expo organizers have a set aside a special homebuilt parking area as well as an area for under-the-wing camping. To reserve a spot call 863-655-6455.
Local food vendors will be serving southern barbeque and other food and beverages onsite, with the Show Center Tent sponsored by Aviators Hotline offering a place for visitors to enjoy their lunch and enjoy entertainment by members of the Flying Musicians’ Association from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily.
At 1:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, guest speakers will offer visitors the opportunity to learn more about aviation past and present in the Show Center Tent. On Thursday, Jan. 16, EAA Homebuilding Community Manager Charlie Becker will discuss how homebuilding saved general aviation. On Friday, Craig Fuller, chairman of the board for Redbird Flight Simulations and former president of the Aircraft Owners’ and Pilots’ Association, will discuss the future of light-sport aircraft.
At 1:30 on Saturday, the Expo will present Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Leo R. Gray, who flew15 combat missions over Europe during World War II flying a P-51 with the famed Red Tail Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group. He left active duty in 1946, but remained in the United States Air Force until 1984. Gray will share stories of his experiences before, during and after the war.
Gates open at 8 a.m. each day. Exhibits will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. More information about the event is available online at www.sport-aviation-expo.com. The event’s daily $20 admission fee is reduced to $15 when tickets are purchased online.