Pilots heading to Sun ‘n Fun 2021 had no real idea what to expect. As evening approached on Sunday set-up day, a big black storm cloud rolled over Sun ‘n Fun’s Lakeland Airport campus, blowing guard shacks and plastic bathrooms around like pieces of paper. An omen? Hardly! The next morning…
The good news is I saw no damage other than a couple cracked-up guard shacks. No airplane damage was obvious to me. The great news is final setup day was gloriously sunny and exhibit airplanes arrived steadily.
By nightfall on Monday as exhibitors finished their preparations, Sun ‘n Fun was looking good and ready for pilots to descend on the Showgrounds.
Several hands pitched in — thanks loudly to a great group from DeLand Showcase — to turn the LAMA LSA Mall into the regular attraction its become over the last 15 years. A fewer number of airplanes will be shown in the LSA Mall but at least one is a machine you’ve never seen before and others are head turners. Nightly music will be featured. Chairs in the shade are available to witness the nightly STOL competition and evening showcase flying.
Show-wide, exhibits are reportedly down about 20%, which I consider an excellent recovery from one of the most trying periods of any of our lives. Many people on-site already were telling stories about friends who are too worried about Covid to chance exposure from crowds. Several people spoke about pilots in Canada not being present as usual; Ontario, for one, heightened lockdowns very recently. Foreign visits will surely be off.
Nonetheless… from what I can tell before the front gates open tomorrow (Tuesday April 13th), Sun ‘n Fun staff and volunteers have done a great job of preparing, vendors are ready to talk to pilots, plenty of pretty flying machines are ready to catch your eye, and lots of people are ready to leave 2020 behind and get back to flying fun.
Images with this article feature airplanes that I’ll be going back to see in more detail when their staff is done setting up and ready to talk. I think I’m gonna be busy! ?
Dan Powers says
Dan I apologize it was not World Aircraft it was Apollo Aircraft. Sorry. Dan P
Dan Johnson says
The answer is similar. Apollo, a Hungarian organization, is not actively represented in the United States at this time and I am unsure of their European operations. The good news is you have several choices that look similar to that aircraft from companies that remain in business.
Dan Powers says
Hi Dan. What is the future of World Aircraft Co.? With the death of the principle prior owner I thought the company would have been bought out by a forward looking company. It was a sweet airplane and it would be a shame if it would just dissolved into LSA history. Thanks! Dan P.
Dan Johnson says
I can imagine many reasons why a company would not want to buy one that left the business. There may be lingering liabilities, unpaid bills, unhappy customers, and more. However, the good news is that at Sun ‘n Fun I spoke with a man who may be working with the designer of the airplanes that World Aircraft sold. If this is successful we may see his designs back in the USA.
John Rogers says
Dan: What is the availability for the LSA aircraft from the factory these days. I have read forums and comments that some LSAs can be 9 to 12 months wait time or more. The used LSA market seems to have few offerings as well, so it appears there may be a shortage of LSA aircraft. I would be curious about your take on the situation.
I am sure there are many of us awaiting your reports from Sun n Fun this year.
Dan Johnson says
Yes, some LSA have wait times stretching to a year, but those are few and are the ones in highest demand with either lower production or other global customers to satisfy. I think three to six months is more common; somewhat faster for American-based manufacturers. This is a low volume industry; many good companies make only 10-25 aircraft per year. That’s what some are set up to do effectively whereas expanding can require considerably more capital. What I don’t believe exists is any particular trend. Some aircraft are in higher demand and lower supply. Some companies are better managed than others. Then, external events like shipping delays or government inspections can add to delivery times. Too many reasons exist for a simple answer.
I plan to keep reporting from Sun ‘n Fun daily if I can keep up the pace (long days; short nights of sleep). Thanks for your interest.
Glenn Mathis says
Well, unless you want a Rans. The company has a 14-16 month wait time for a kit and 2 years for a RTF! (comment accuracy not verified. —DJ)
See if you can talk to the Tarragon folks…they are impossible to get ahold of via social media.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look on the web site: tarragonaircraft.com. Our contact information is listed.