|By Carmelo Turdo|
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 Pilatus...to 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):