Photo by Randy Dufault
Sebastian Heintz of Zenith Aircraft (left) shows Walt Snyder a
possible upgrade to the Quicksilver Sport which Snyder flew here
July 30, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
- Given the state of the economy and the changes many companies in the
general aviation industry have had to make over the past year, vendors
displaying their wares at AirVenture are pleasantly surprised at the
business activity experienced so far.
Overall there seems to be a strong consensus
this year that the weather is great, the crowd is great, and EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh is the place to be.
“The weather is perfect other than Monday’s
rain showers,” said Tom Aniello, vice president of marketing for Cessna.
“We’ve been here since late last week…and
just ballparking, it looks like there are more people here than I’ve
seen in 10 years,” Aniello said.
“This is a pleasant surprise, I’d say. You
always have the fear that with the economy the way it is, people are going
to cut out attending events like this, but [this crowd] seems to show
people are positive and enthusiastic about aviation.
“[Cessna President] Jack Pelton said the
other day that Oshkosh is good for the soul, and that is absolutely true.
You get recharged.”
Much of the interest in the Cessna booth
centers on the 162 SkyCatcher, the company’s entry into the light-sport
aircraft market. SkyCatcher deliveries are expected to begin next year.
Lynn Thomas, sales manager for Quest Aircraft
Company, saw a slow start.
“I thought the crowd was a bit light on
Monday, but Tuesday was just wonderful,” he said.
It’s nice to see that people are
enthusiastic and, in particular, enthusiastic about our airplanes.”
He went on to say, “This is like coming home
every year. In the months before [EAA AirVenture Oshkosh] you anticipate
how much fun it is going to be, and when you get here you have even more
Skip Koss, vice president of marketing for
Concorde Battery Corporation, said, “This has been a terrific week so
far. “It has been our biggest ever, no questions asked.”
He added that it seems to be the same sort of
people as in years past, but there are just more of them.
Stein Bruch, president of SteinAir Inc., a
homebuilt component supplier and custom panel builder, said, “The crowd
is just fantastic, much better than last year.
“People are spending money, but they are
being careful with major equipment purchases—just being more
Craig Barnett of Scheme Designers has been
very busy talking to people.
“But they are being careful shoppers,”
Scheme Designers, an aircraft-finish design
firm, recently added a capability for previewing aircraft-finish designs
in full-motion 3-D.
Sebastian Heintz of Zenith Aircraft Company
had an option to move into some of the newly reconfigured exhibit areas,
but instead he kept his longtime space in the North Aircraft Display area.
“Like many folks we are a bit afraid of
change,” Heintz said. “We wanted to make sure our customers and
builders could find us.
“The traffic is good, and that was a
pleasant surprise. At 8 Monday morning we already had a crowd.”