Reflections on Flying Aviation Expo

Heather Hitt

Flying Aviation Expo wrapped up on Saturday with the Parade of Planes back to the Palm Springs Airport, leaving everybody who was there smiling and wanting more, more, more. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say the second annual Aviation Expo was twice as good as the first. The convention hall featured more exhibits, the static area outside included more airplanes and the educational seminars and tech talks were attended by more pilots.

For that, I want to thank the attendees who were there and who helped make it such a terrific show, as well as our partners at Lift Event Management and Urban Expositions, who did the heavy lifting to make Aviation Expo a success. I didn't hear a single complaint during the entire three-day show, even when a few raindrops fell during the first Parade of Planes on Thursday.

That's right, we had two parades. Led by a local high school marching band, the procession included some incredible machines — a Quest Kodiak on floats, Pilatus PC-12, Eclipse 550, TBM 900, Epic turboprop and many more airplanes from Cirrus, Cessna, Mooney, Piper, Diamond, Tecnam, Aviat, Lancair, CubCrafters, and on and on.

A major sponsor of this year's expo, watch and sunglasses maker Scheyden, doubled its exhibit size and reported double the sales as well. The company says it will be back next year with an even bigger presence. Aircraft Spruce reported a doubling of sales as well, while Garmin, Avidyne, Textron and others told us they had a great show.

We've already set the dates for next year's expo, which will again be held in Palm Springs, October 13-15. What attendees told us they loved most about the event is that it finally gives the West Coast a big aviation show that fits perfectly in the annual calendar with Sun 'n Fun in Florida in the spring, Oshkosh in the middle of the country in the summer and now Flying Aviation Expo in California. And unlike those other shows, we have the best restaurants, hotels and nightlife.

If you're a pilot on the West Coast, do yourself a favor and make plans to be there next year. You'll be glad you did.

Check out our photo galleries from the show here:


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