2016 Sebring Sport Aviation Expo

2016-01-23 The latest LSA and Ultralight. Photos by Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser except where noted.

The Sebring Sport Aviation Expo is working to become OSHkosk for LSA. I hope it works, it sure seems headed that way.

Tim & I arrived on Friday in order to check out the show and do a presentation on Powered Paragliding. Unfortunately the weather grew ugly, with rain and red stuff on everyone's phone, so there weren't many people there. For the first time ever, they actually closed down the show right as my presentation began. Maybe I need to improve the presentation? Someone came to the hangar saying they were shutting down due to severe weather. We were in a stout metal hangar, the group wanted to continue, so we did. We were dry, and as safe as about anywhere, so why not?


I found a new technique to animate action using the projector. It's more useful than making barking dogs, anyway.


They really dolled the place up for that big-show feel but it had a very friendly atmosphere. Saturday's weather dumped a load of winter, though, with strong winds and temperatures barely crawling out of the 40's. Uggh. Look at what people are wearing, and those crackling flags. Thankfully Wed and Thur were nice.


Ooooh there was a lot of fascinating stuff including this mock-up of something we all hope survives the tough birthing of a new airplane.


This one is a flying example of water-borne coolness.

The show ran through Saturday afternoon but what left early was good weather. Saturday's 45 degree chill rode in on the Witches Tit express at 30 knots. A few brave souls did fly but no paragliders.


Jamie Becket travels around in AOPA's nicely done Cessna 152. He was there doing "Rusty Pilot Clinics" to help pilots rediscover their passion for flight.


Eric Farewell, his brother James, Travis Burns of AviatorPPG and a friend were the show's Paramotor contingent. Thankfully, they could fly Wed and Thur because Fri and Sat were cold blowouts. Look at how they're bundled up!


The "Drone Home" showed off craft from hand sized to almost human sized. You could even make trial flights on what had to be the world's most rugged little Radio Controlled quads.


I saw the coolest engines that will hopefully one day find their way into paramotors. They're not wankels but do have 3 power strokes per revolution which means a LOT of power per weight. Unfortunately, the UK company, Orbital Power Ltd. had no interest in our market and, in fact, any kind of manned application. That's why they were in the drone section. The $17,000 engine I most enthused over burns jet fuel and manages 30 hp at all of 8 pounds. Bummer I didn't get pictures of the thing.

Image from HighlandsToday.com. FPNA's Yarara UAV.

It would be fun to land on the ramp, set the paramotor down, walk in to the FBO and ask for fuel: "I'd like a top off of Jet-A, probably the full 2 gallons, No Priest (a common additive) and would appreciate a quick turn". If you've ever seen how fast fuel shoots out of those trucks you'll uderstand their consternation.


Float Planes and Amphibs is using it  on a military drone, the Yarara UAV to be made in FL. They say it will offer nearly zero vibration, loitering up to 18,000 feet, and run on less expensive, more available jet fuel using its Orbital Power rotary engine. It may operate like Liquid Piston engine.


We couldn't see the aerial goings on but that didn't turn out to matter much, there were none. At least not while we were in the hotel. But we did get a kick out of watching the enormous parade of race-car wannabes. This hotel is all about racing. The racetrack is owned (and possibly the hotel), by Don Panoz, who is most famous for inventing the Nicotine Patch. Tim models one of the Elevator lounch couches below.


One the way down we ate at the Chop House in Lake Wales. Good food, fun time, including artwork on the table.

We joke with each other about how we sometimes wind up reading our phones. Mind you, we talk ALL THE TIME but, when I caught him on Facebook, I had to pave a lane of guilt, asking him to point at his phone while I snapped this picture.

Notice the finger.

It was a great trip. The fact is, Tim Rocks.

We're here for the flying but this place, Sebring, is all about racecars. Tim & I stayed at a hotel right on the airport and it overlooks one of the hairpin turns on Sebring's road racecourse. During dinner one night we talked with a crewmember of one of two professional teams there and learned a lot about racing. The groups on the track this weekend were part of a type club.

© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!