Filip a True Friend of Sport Aviation

Jana Filip speaks at a EAA AirVenture press conference in 2019. DSAS/Steve Simoneau

If you have ever attended one of the sport aviation shows in Sebring or DeLand, Florida, there is a significant chance that Jana Filip was involved in everything you saw, learned, flew, and tasted.

As the sport aviation administrator at the DeLand Municipal Airport, Filip and a team of volunteers are in the final stages of planning the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase, which runs November 11 to 13 at the DeLand Municipal Airport (KDED). This will be the fifth “showcase” event she has planned at DeLand, following the five U.S. Sport Aviation Expos that she ran at the Sebring Regional Airport (KSEF).

Filip and her teams have worked hard to shine a big spotlight on the world of sport aviation, which includes light sport aircraft as well as:

  • Ultralights
  • Gyroplanes
  • Trikes
  • Rotorcraft
  • Powered parachutes
  • Paragliders
The Carbon Cub SS light sport aircraft will be on display at the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase. Cubcrafters

A Veteran Advocate

Since 2002, when she joined the initial board that created the Sebring Sport Aviation Expo events, Filip has been a strong advocate for the light-sport-aircraft category and the sport pilot certificate.

“The sport pilot certificate and light sport aircraft are attainable and affordable ways for even the newest aviation enthusiast to get into the air; it is the least expensive form of general aviation,” Filip said. “It took the FAA nearly 10 years to develop the light-sport rule, and that has made it easier for the design of new planes to be available for the aviation community.

“These planes are better than before, as the planes are easier on the environment, are more efficient, and have enhanced avionics.”

Filip is again preparing to host the 2021 DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase, an event that was twice postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for late 2020, the show was pushed to January 2021 before it was eventually canceled. Not knowing what the public health situation would be through the year, DSAS organizers set a new date for November 2021 and are now going forward with the show.

Unlike larger airshow events held in Wisconsin and Florida, the DeLand Showcase was designed to focus only on the sport-aviation industry.

“Showcase is an intimate show in nature,” Filip explains, “and was designed specifically for the exhibiting aircraft to fly all day, every day. Showcase’s exhibitors line up their aircraft and each has about eight minutes to take off, perform fly-bys, do touch-and-gos, and demonstrate landings.

“Later in the day, STOL exhibitions feature each aircraft showing what those airplanes are capable of in short takeoff and landing (STOL) performance. For the buyer, it is a great way to visually see just what the different models can do.”

Because of the smaller nature of the DeLand show, attendees have plenty of opportunities to speak directly with exhibitors to discuss airframes, engines, avionics, and related parts and services.

“Year over year, it has been proven that Showcase sells more sport aviation airplanes on the Showcase Field than at the larger shows. Yes, the customers will look at the products at either Sun ‘n Fun or AirVenture, but many times the sale takes place at the DeLand Showcase. The 2019 Showcase had a reported $2 million in sales and services reported during the three-day event,” Filip said.

One of the most visible elements of the DeLand Municipal Airport is the DeLand Sport Aviation Village (DSAV), a 40-acre tract of land dedicated by the city of DeLand to be developed to promote the sport-aviation segment of general aviation.

“The Sport Aviation Village is what enticed me to come to DeLand,” Filip said. “We already have numerous aviation-related businesses on the field, and anticipate our first major manufacturer to move into DSAV in early 2022, with eight additional commercial lots complete with infrastructure, airside and public entrances/exits, customer parking, and utilities, as well as an additional 20 T-hangars in the design phase in the village.

“My goal is to provide a place where all involved in ‘Flying for Fun’ can have a home where they know they’re welcome and most importantly, a place where they can thrive.”

Looking to the Future

Like everyone in the Light-Sport/Sport Pilot industry, the upcoming FAA rules rewrite known as MOSAIC is on Filip’s mind all the time.

“There is a win-win for sport aviation out there waiting to happen, and for those of us that would like to see a comprehensive plan in place, we’ll keep dreaming and believing,” Filip said. “It will happen—patience just needs to prevail.

“In the meantime, I encourage DSAS attendees to hear Saturday’s keynote speaker, Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. Dan has spent many, many hours advocating on behalf of our industry, and can give expert information on the most recent news and direction of the MOSAIC rules rewrite,” she said.

While AirVenture and Sun ‘n Fun are certainly much larger events than the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase, neither focuses solely on the world of sport aviation. If you have an interest in recreational flying or earning your sport pilot certificate, this show is the place to be if you want to see the latest and greatest makes, models, and products in this category. Registration and admission info can be found here.

Dan Pimentel is an instrument-rated private pilot and former airplane owner who has been flying since 1996. As an aviation journalist and photographer, he has covered all aspects of the general and business aviation communities for a long list of major aviation magazines, newspapers and websites. For 10 years until 2019, he hosted the popular ‘Oshbash’ social media meetup events at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Have an idea for Dan? Send it to editor@airplanista.com.

Dan Pimentel is an instrument-rated private pilot and former airplane owner who has been flying since 1996. As an aviation journalist and photographer, he has covered all aspects of the general and business aviation communities for a long list of major aviation magazines, newspapers and websites. He has never met a flying machine that he didn’t like, and has written about his love of aviation for years on his Airplanista blog. For 10 years until 2019, he hosted the popular ‘Oshbash’ social media meetup events at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
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