Friday, September 29, 2017

Great Planes Air Expo Features Latest Business Aircraft In the Midwest  

By Carmelo Turdo
(KCAC graphic)
The Annual Great Planes Air Expo, presented by KCAC Aviation, was held at the KCAC Spirit of St. Louis location Thursday.  The event, available at airports across the Midwest this fall, showcases the latest business aircraft types offered by Pilatus, Piper, Beechcraft, Cirrus, TBM (Socata) and other well-known manufacturers and is open to the public (pre-registration is desired).  The Great Planes Air Expo gives the potential business aircraft customer the opportunity to examine new aircraft on the apron and to gain valuable, first-hand knowledge of their operation from company pilots.  It is also an excellent opportunity for anyone to learn more about the business segment of the aviation industry.   

The aircraft featured at each location may vary, and local authorized dealers are often represented where available.  Making a positive connection with the customer helps make the significant capital investment of a business aircraft possible, and events such as the Great Planes Air Expo demonstrate that the business aircraft industry is willing to bring the products to the potential customers in a no-pressure, local airport environment.

The Aero Experience visited the Great Planes Air Expo Thursday morning and met with KCAC Aviation's Director of Marketing, Mike Turner, who gave us some insight on the event and its purpose.  "We coordinate all the different venders, manufacturers and suppliers that come to the event by bringing in the fleet of airplanes to those very busy business people who couldn't make it out to an NBAA (National Business Aviation Association Convention) or an Oshkosh - binging the airplanes to them," Turner told The Aero Experience.  "Businesses have a lot of activity going on," he continued, "and they can't take off multiple days to go to a big trade show.  So we work with Textron, Cirrus, TBM, Piper and bring the airplanes out to our customers so they only have to take off a couple of hours."  The aircraft represented ranged from the Cirrus SR22 4-seat personal/business piston aircraft to the TBM-910, Piper M600, Beechcraft King Air and Pilatus PC-12 turboprops and the Cessna Citation jet.  Company pilots were available to show the aircraft, including cockpit systems, and discuss the performance and operation of the aircraft from real-world experience.     

According to Turner, the aircraft on display are used for flights with 2-4 passengers and ranging from 350-500nm.  "The primary reason for using a business aircraft is really the time savings," he said.  "Your ability to go to those other 5,000 airports that are in the U.S., rather than just the 500 that the commercial airlines serve, gets you much closer to your final destination.  It's about the efficiency, being able to either go out and see customers or pick up customers and bring them back to your plant and talk to them.  Going out to multiple locations per day...A business aircraft allows you to get to your destination that much quicker, on your own schedule.  It becomes a real time machine." 

The aircraft on display at the St. Louis Great Planes Air Expo included (click on links for further details on each type):

Piper M600 

Pilatus PC-12

KCAC Aviation, based in Olathe, KS, is an authorized Piper and Pilatus dealer and also provides charter, aircraft management, maintenance and fixed-base operator services.  The Spirit of St. Louis location provides a significant maintenance facility.  KCAC Aviation strives to provide an excellent customer experience.  According to Turner, it is not uncommon to assist customers who have a mechanical issue with their aircraft by providing an aircraft for the remainder of their trip.  "KCAC is known for their exceptional customer service...It's really how we take care of our customers.  They know we are going to be there for them throughout the life of that airplane.  If there is any kind of customer support that they need, we are there to support them."

The Aero Experience thanks KCAC Aviation for producing the Great Planes Air Expo throughout the Midwest, and we thank Director of Marketing Mike Turner for his hospitality during our visit.      

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017: Experimental Aircraft

By Fred Harl
The Aero Experience continues our coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 with a look at experimental (amateur built) aircraft seen during the week.  There were various  designs, offering choices of construction materials and powerplants.  Some resemble vintage types, while others have a modern look.  We hope you enjoy this survey of experimental aircraft, and come back for more coverage as we move on to exhibitors very soon.

Lockwood AirCam: 

Christen (Aviat) Eagle II:

Cozy Mk. IV:

Viking Aircraft Cygnet:

Dyke Delta:

Harmon F1 Rocket:

Glasair Sportsman and Legacy:

Hummel Bird:

Lancair IV:

Rutan Long-EZ/VariEze:

Durand Mk. V:

Dannenberg MonoCub:

Pitts Model 12:

Rans Courier and Sakota:

Vans RV Series:

Silence Twister:



Performance Aircraft Turbine Legend:

Wittman W-8 Tailwind:

Zenith CH-801 STOL: