Saturday, November 5, 2016

Deland Sport Aviation Showcase

The weather forecast was "iffy". A cold front was moving in from the north and was expected to bring marginal VFR weather along with it. But it wasn't due until late Friday evening. I figured if we left early on Friday we would beat the weather and have a chance to enjoy the inaugural Deland Sport Aviation Showcase.

I checked the computer at 7:00am. Red dots. Both Tampa Executive and 85 miles away in Deland, fog and mist had the fields closed. I told Kathy to take her time, we wouldn't be going anywhere for awhile. I brewed a pot of coffee and started reading the news. It would be good to get away from the world's troubles, even if only for an afternoon. We left for the airport around 10:00am, way behind our planned schedule. The winds were calm now, but I was concerned they might pick up in the afternoon for our return trip. The front was still expected to arrive later in the day.

All ground operations went well. I added 5 gallons from the local Wawa which put us just under 20 total for the trip. My planner said it would be under an hour each way, so rounding up should leave me with 5 gallons each side when I shut her down back at KVDF. Preflight went well, but I suspect the right main tire will need to be replaced soon.

We took off on RWY5 and picked up Flight Following just south of Zephyr Hills. Tampa vectored us east to keep us clear of parachute operations there. The air was smooth at 3,500'. Visibility was less than 10 miles in mist and haze, so when we got close to the "Mouse's House" we really couldn't see it. I suggested  we take a tour over the top on our way home.

I didn't know what to expect. The traffic at my last fly-in had been pretty intense. So I had studied the NOTAM and was prepared to fly west and orbit the lake if I had to. I should not have worried. Although there were some demonstration planes flying circuits from the other runway, and jumpers were constantly landing in an adjacent field, the traffic coming in for the show was light. It really turned into just a straight in approach once I acknowledged that I saw the jump plane taking off from the opposite runway. A normal landing with excellent help and directions from Ground Control. We parked in the north lot.

The turn out was light, but for a weekday it was probably acceptable. We took the golf cart shuttle to the show side and immediately went over to see the Sport Cruiser. Todd, Megan and Bryan were handling the display and Kathy and I enjoyed talking about airplanes with them. The short time we were there a few folks stopped by to ask questions and admire the clean design. Next it was time for lunch. Just a few carts with typical air show food. After a sandwich we visited the indoor exhibits and stopped to chat with an old friend, Kirk from Dynon. We were glad to see Jim there comparing the different features available. Finally, we bought our Tee Shirts and went back to Sally to depart.

It was a long taxi and wait for take off in warm Florida weather . CHT1 was hovering around 250F by the time we were on the roll. She cooled off nicely on top of climb. I relaxed, did the checklist and prepared for the cruise home. It was hazy with scattered clouds at 4000'. We put up with the light  bumps at 2500'. I called Orlando for Flight Following. 4PS TRAFFIC TWELVE OCLOCK TWO MILES OPPOSITE DIRECTION TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED INDICATED IF NOT INSIGHT DESCEND AND MAINTAIN TWO THOUSAND IMMEDIATELY! We did.

We decided to tour Disney World another day. Instead we flew direct to KVDF and followed a very nice V-tail into the ramp area. It was a good day.

Video Notes: Deland LSA Showcase

I would comment that DeLand has some room to grow. I would guess it is currently about a 1/4 the size of the Sebring show. Although a weekday, the crowd was small. However, aircraft were being demonstrated the whole time we were there. Auto gyros to motor gliders and everything in between. It was a good start. I hope they are successful.

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