By VANESSA WELCH
MT. VERNON — Anticipation is mounting for the first Light Sport Aircraft Expo to be held in less than two months at Mt. Vernon Outland Airport.
“We’re all really proud — we’ve had a hardworking group of volunteers,” Airport Manager Chris Collins said Tuesday night during the Airport Authority board meeting. “They’re making the contacts and we’re forming committees for tasks like aircraft parking and air traffic control. The things that were just a dream nine months ago are now starting to happen.”
Collins said the Expo, which will be held Oct. 1 through 3, has been a joint effort between the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, City of Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County Development Corporation and Mt. Vernon Outland Airport. So far, 37 of the 47 aircraft slots have been filled, and about 15 exhibitors have signed on board, according to Collins.
An article that appeared in the August/September 2009 edition of Midwest Flyer Magazine will raise more awareness for the event, Collins noted, along with marketing materials which have already been published or distributed.
Airport Board Chairman Mike Ancona said the event has “tremendous potential” and informed the board the popularity of light-sport aircraft, as demonstrated by Eric Evans of Evans Aviation through selling more than 10 JABIRU aircraft, will benefit the airport and community.
“That’s impressive and it’s brought a sense of awareness to the airport about light-sport aircraft that I think maybe we weren’t paying real close attention to before,” Ancona said. ... “We are now the premiere airport in the Midwest for light-sport aviation, and that’s not overstated at all.”
During the meeting, Lt. Col. R.D. White informed the board the Jefferson County Flying Club is holding a meeting Aug. 18 to seek interest for a sportsman aircraft recreational and training center. The purpose of the center is to establish a program for those interested in becoming pilots “to be trained and fly at a price they can afford.” The non-profit organization currently owns a Cessna 150 and hopes to add a JABIRU if more members join.
By VANESSA WELCH
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