By TESA CULLI
MT. VERNON — Just under 40 exhibitors have signed up on the flight line to take part in the first Light Sport Aircraft Expo to be held at the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport Oct. 1 through 3.
“We’ve been getting great response and the manufacturer’s are really on board with it,” Airport Manager Chris Collins, who is in Osh Kosh, Wis. at the 2009 Experimental Aircraft Association Air Venture Aviation Celebration. “We’re getting a lot of response here and handing out material. The manufacturers already located in the Midwest are ecstatic that the show will be [in Mt. Vernon]. They’re already calling it their show. Instead of going 14 to 16 hours of travel, they will be at the show in four or five hours.”
The show is expected to be the largest LSA Expo in the U.S. Only one other expo that allows people to try out the aircraft is held in Sebring, Fla., and manufacturers and support industries had been looking for a place in the Midwest for a site to hold an event that would be closer to the LSA manufacturers and the associated product suppliers, according to information from Eric Evans of Evans Aviation, located at the Mt. Vernon Airport.
“Midwest LSA Expo Inc., specifically created the event to educate aviators about all facets related to the LSA industry, including the many different aircraft types, available engines and LSA performance, promote the sale of LSA’s, the use of LSA aircraft for flight training and in rental fleets and promote economic development in the Southern Illinois region.” information on the event states.
“Other events are just so large that it becomes a static display show, and they can’t try out anything,” Colllins said. “You can go online and shop, but there’s no way to try out all of them, and to see all the Light Sport in one place is rare. Now we are offering them another place, and it’s in the Midwest and in Mt. Vernon.”
Collins said he has been talking to many people while in Osh Kosh, and added, “the whole aviation world is here.”
“We keep getting more and more positive feedback,” Collins said.
The number of people expected to descend on the King City for the LSA Expo is unknown, Collins explained, because this is the first year for the event. However, the Florida event draws thousands.
“This being the first year, we think we’ll have between 1,000 and 2,000,” Collins said. “It could be more. We just won’t know until it happens. We do know that we’ll be ready for them.”
Additional information on the LSA is available online at www.midwestlsashow.com.