Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Illinois Ultralight and Lightplane Safety Seminar Covers Range of Topics, Products

By Carmelo Turdo
The annual Illinois Ultralight and Lightplane Safety Seminar and Trade Show held earlier this month in Springfield attracted over a hundred attendees and a variety of product vendors.  Experts in the field of ultralights were on hand to discuss the state of the industry, various ultralight aircraft choices, and safety concerns for pilots and maintainers.   Light sport aircraft (LSA) topics were also covered, and the Ekolot KR-030 Topaz booth was a must-visit corner of the hall.  The keynote speaker, EAA President and CEO Rod Hightower, addressed the cooperation of EAA and ultralight/LSA industries.  Trade show participants displayed the latest aerial vehicles and safety equipment.  Here are some scenes from the event:

Trade Show Exhibitors Show Their Products:

Ultralight and LSA Aircraft Manufacturers and Dealers Were Also Present:    

EAA President and CEO Rod Hightower Addressed Current Issues:

Rod Hightower gave an informative presentation that began with his biographical  
sketch and covered issues of concern to ultralight and LSA communities.  He advocated continued vigilance against user fees and additional regulation of the industry, citing the difficulties encountered in the European system that stifles growth in general aviation.  The EAA, Hightower explained, is reshaping and focusing its mission.  Enhancements to the Young Eagles program with follow-on pilot education sponsored by Sporty's Pilot Shop have been implemented, and the Eagle Flight program for adults is also available.  

Emphasis on chapter recruiting and activities was also a recurrent theme along the lines of the flying club model, which includes social interaction along with flying and aircraft construction activities.  EAA chapters should be magnets to attract the surrounding community to experience aviation as it occurs locally.  "Reach the community where they are, and make it interesting," Hightower said.  These activities not only attract interest in aviation locally, but also protects the airport from loss from lack of use or other conflicting development initiatives.

Hightower committed the EAA to the defense of ultralight and LSA interests, suggesting that attendees schedule a meeting with FAA and other regulators at AirVenture this summer.  Many in the room agreed and some volunteered to attend and hold meaningful discussions at such a meeting.  Although it was generally acknowledged that the critical issue of ultralight weight standards would probably not be resolved, open communication with federal officials would be a good start in building positive relationships. 

Support the sponsors of this event the next time you need aviation products and services:

A&M Airsports
Discover Powered Paragliding
Experimetal Aircraft Association
Easy Flight Powered Parachutes
Hilton Software/WingX Pro7
Kuntzleman Electronics, Inc.
Leading Edge Air Foils
Light Sport Repair Services
Midwest LSA Expo
Pinch Penny Press
Powered Sport Flying Magazine
Powered Sport Flying Radio
SportLink Communications
Sporty's Pilot Shop
Wicks Aircraft Supply
World Dirtectory of Leisure Aviation   

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