Ian Twombly

How are things?

April 23, 2009 by Ian J. Twombly, Associate Editor

Without a doubt, the economy is the top story of Sun ‘n Fun this year. How’s it going? Are people making it? How’s attendance? Which projects are on the chopping block? The conversations are consistent and predictable, only the players change.

But the answers are surprising. A few airplane manufacturers that we talked to said the show is fantastic. Some equipment and avionics sellers say they’re happy, or pleasantly surprised as they sometimes say. Cirrus yesterday even said domestic orders are up 2 percent from the same time last year. A popular financing broker said there’s capital, and the standards are pretty much the same as they always have been. Insurance prices are down, and even LSA seems to be taking hold.

So while most are still taking cover while the eyewall passes over, others seems to be approaching the outer rain bands. Is the progress for real and is it sustainable? Most say yes, even going so far to say that it was never that bad to begin with.

The skeptics say it was simply low expectations. Don’t expect any orders when you get here, and each one is special, they say. But others give clear examples of success that is undeniable. Maybe’s it’s the incredible weather, but people feel good.

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3 Responses to “How are things?”

  1. Steve Roth Says:

    Unfortunately, there are so many variables in your query. Weather, price of gas, attitudes, personal abilities, etc. For me, I have slowed on Sun-’n-Fun attendance due to the fact that WE take our airplanes there, WE are part of the show and WE end up being taken to the cleaners with on-site prices and attention. It has become that my main reason to attend Sun-’n-Fun (and Oshkosh) is to renew acquaintances. Sun-’n-Fun has become a commercial venture, as Oshkosh has already become. Sport flying has become a backseat issue for these events.

    I own two vintage airplanes. That lack of respect for such aircraft at Sun-’n-Fun makes me NOT want to fly there.

    As a result, I only attend every few years. When I lived in Tampa, I volunteered at Sun-’n-Fun for a number of years. But, eventually, I felt “used” for commercial purposes and the rewards were not there so I backed off.

    Sorry for expressing negative issues, but I would rather support local fly-ins which focus on flying.

  2. Orlando Sport Pilot Says:

    Two very interesting perspectives about Sun n Fun. LSA is this current economies answer.

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