|Crowds browse through the North Aircraft Display area early Saturday morning. (photo by Randy Dufault)
By Randy Dufault
August 3, 2013 - The moderate weather gracing Oshkosh this past week certainly made the convention experience pleasant for everyone attending. But vendors AirVenture Today spoke with are pleased about much more than the temps-well below last year's 90-degree readings-and rain-free skies.
"This is quite possibly the best AirVenture ever for us," said John Johnson, global event manager for Cirrus Aircraft.
Johnson indicated that crowds in the Cirrus exhibit have been remarkable, people were excited, and most importantly, sales have been tremendous. Sales of Cirrus logo merchandise were so brisk that additional inventory was flown in from the company's Duluth, Minnesota, headquarters.
"Once we open, the traffic is just nonstop all day," said Bret Koebbe from Sporty's Pilot Shop.
Demand at Sporty's has been very high for ADS-B receivers, any products related to iPads for aviation, and for inflight video recording options. One unexpectedly hot seller has been Sporty's Learn to Fly video series. While there is no way to tell for sure, Koebbe speculates that interest in acquiring a pilot certificate is on the rise.
Final receipts have yet to be tabulated, but John Markley from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty believes 2013 could be a record year for the aircraft component supplier. Like Sporty's, anything ADS-B- or iPad-related has been a hot seller, along with LED lighting.
"I haven't had this much fun since the '80s," John Monnett of Sonex said.
Monnett is particularly pleased with the new air show format that allowed demonstration of the company's SubSonex personal jet to excited AirVenture crowds. He also said traffic in the Sonex booth was very good with a number of serious buyers in attendance. Sales were brisk, though he did add (with a smile), "They could be better."
Joe Blank of Van's Aircraft said demand for demonstration flights in all of the company's different RV models was very high. Sales, particularly for the RV-14 introduced at AirVenture last year, are strong.
That's just a sampling of vendors, and there seemed to be consensus that improving economic conditions helped make this a great year. And most, if not all, of the vendors expect 2014 to be even better.