Gliding through the Sky

Qatar paragliders perform during the annual DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase held at DeLand Municipal Airport last year.

For the fourth time in its history, the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase will be flying high above DeLand Municipal Airport the weekend of Nov. 14 with an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 aviation enthusiasts expected to attend.

The showcase, a three-day event that features more than 100 different aircraft, was created for local aviation enthusiasts to view various recreational aircraft on display both on the ground and in the air. The aircraft, of course, are for sale.

“This show was created to raise awareness of the accessibility and the affordability of recreational aviation,” said Jana Filip, event manager. “We are kind of fore feeders and down. This show is dedicated to the sport aviation community.”

While most air shows would see numerous types of larger-sized, and usually military, aircraft taking off and flying to the delight of a crowd, this airshow is meant for aviation enthusiasts that are looking for their next winged-toy by allowing the smaller lesser-known aircraft have their time in the sky.

“The reason this show works is because larger airshows are for all of general aviation,” Ms. Filip said. “At those shows, these smaller aircraft really don’t get to fly very much.

“Just like how you’re not going to buy a car without test-driving it, you’re not going to buy an aircraft if you don’t test-fly it,” she said.

The showcase does not only have aircraft on display, however. With a series of 24 different educational forums, led by experts in the industry, talking about a variety of topics, such as safety, it also provides education for anyone wanting to become a part of the aviation community.

All of this began four years ago when leaders of DeLand Municipal Airport decided to create the DeLand Sport Aviation Village, which is an area of the airport that allows aviators to own their own hangers for recreational purposes, and an airshow with it that would help promote local aviation industries, such as the ones that call the DeLand airport their home. One such industry is parachuting.

“There are almost 40 companies that surround parachuting,” Ms. Filip said. “We used that as our model and created the sport aviation village and this show.

“It helps aviation in that the sport aviation market is a great place to start,” she said.

The fourth annual DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase will be from 9 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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