By Carmelo Turdo
The Show Me Expo is now in progress (June 11-12) at the Midwest Aviation Center at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, MO. The event was designed to augment the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention by providing an opportunity to showcase business aviation aircraft, financing and airport operations at the local level. Spirit of St. Louis Airport is an ideal location, since it combines all the best qualities of a business aviation center in the Midwestern U.S. Experts from aircraft manufacturers, dealers, financing entities and airport management are on hand to encourage the resurgence of business aviation, and they are already making a good impression on the participants.
Business aircraft manufacturers, including Cessna, Cirrus, Diamond, Hawker Beechcraft, Pilatus, Piper, Liberty, Daher-Socata, Aviat, Gobosh, Jabiru USA and KCAC were represented. Crews and salespersons are available to discuss how their aircraft serve the needs of business aviation customers. They are all professionals – courteous to all attendees and candid about the capabilities of their aircraft. Anyone interested in learning more about business aviation from real experts in their fields is highly encouraged to attend the Show Me Air Expo.
The Cessna Grand Caravan turboprop is one of the larger aircraft featured at the Expo, and one of the most versatile as well. Erik Swanberg, a Grand Caravan pilot with over 8,000 flying hours (3000 in Caravans), described the Grand Caravan as a go anywhere, do anything utility aircraft. It can fly in the Arctic, the tropics, and anywhere in between. A single pilot can economically fly the aircraft to accomplish varied missions, such as 9-10 seat air taxi, skydiving launch, cargo transport, and aide relief to remote areas with the same aircraft, with only about 20 minutes needed to reconfigure the interior between each new mission. It can takeoff and land in short distances using unimproved runways, and can be reliably maintained in the field. The smaller Caravan can even be configured with floats, with little reduction in speed.
Another Cessna product, the Citation Mustang, is also available for viewing. Pilot Brandy Hearting is visibly proud of her aircraft. The aircraft provides efficient single-pilot, four passenger executive-style travel without sacrificing comfort. Savings on fuel and servicing for the Citation Mustang are significant, considering many of the larger business jets are still used to carry 2-5 people on flights within 500nm. Service for the aircraft is readily available, whether from the Cessna Wichita, KS or Milwaukee, WI service centers, or from the nearest Authorized Service Station is located just across the river in Alton, Illinois, at St. Louis Regional Airport (KALN). The Citation Mustang provides turboprop efficiency with jet performance, taking away any excuses for waiting to upgrade.
Eric Evans Aviation of Mt. Vernon, IL is featuring one of his Jabiru J230 light sport aircraft. This beautiful, Australian design is produced in Shelbyville, TN for the light sport market. It combines light sport affordability with the comfort and performance expected of any general aviation or business aircraft. The J230 is ideal for personal, training and interstate business travel, burning only about 5 gallons per hour. Eric believes that the demand for new aircraft will grow significantly, especially for small business owners and individuals who are replacing inefficient aircraft. He has positioned his company well to serve these markets, and is available to discuss your specific needs.
Paul Nowlin from Airpro Aviation is also on hand to show you his Aviat Husky. This aircraft is designed to fly two people 800 miles, or up to 900 pounds to rugged areas that offer only about 300 feet of landing area. Built in Afton, WY, the Husky is ideal for farmers and ranchers who need to travel over their properties and land anywhere. A float-equipped option is also available. Along with the rugged “jeep” like construction, the Husky is sophisticated enough to fly in IFR conditions using onboard terrain and traffic avoidance systems. If your business involves the great outdoors, or if you simply want to get away from your business, this is your aircraft.
KCAC is well represented at the Expo, along with Piper, Pilatus and Hawker Beechcraft. The following photos will illustrate their products. You really, though, need to be at Spirit of St. Louis Airport to appreciate the products and services represented there. Visit the event site to find out more about the Expo and participants: http://www.showmeairexpo.com/.