I live only about 1/2 hour away, so I plan on going all 3 days since I don’t have to pay for a flight, hotel and car. I also took an express CT Transit bus in so I didn’t have to pay the $19 to park in the garage at the convention center. On Wednesday I helped out at Bradley, but the people in charge of badging people didn’t want to have the AOPA volunteers badged since they would have to check us against the terrorist watch list. Since there was nothing in it for them, they didn’t want to do it. Connecticut still has a BIG problem where each department only works for itself, not for the benefit of the entire State. Low clouds kept arrivals way down anyway. Today’s weather was much better.
I was planning on visiting the static display at Brainard tomorrow, so I saw most of the exhibits and went to some seminars today. I didn’t go to any ASF seminars since I’ve seen the ones offered already. This was the first time I was in the convention center. It looks like a top-notch facility, although the new parking garage is quite a bad design. (Thank goodness talks about moving the NE Patriots to that site was just a scam to get Boston to make concessions. It would have been a disaster.) On-site food is limited, but the Seattle Coffee Co. stand has decent selection at very reasonable prices, considering the captive audience. The adjacent area still has a lot of construction going on so food choices within walking distance is a bit limited.
I’ve been to previous Expos in Philadelphia, 2 in Atlantic City, and Tampa, and from what I’ve seen so far, I can say that this has been equal or better than those. The opening session was on light jets, and this type of audience always chuckles when we’re told how “affordable” they are. Phil made a brief statement, and said that so far attendance is the best it’s been for an east coast Expo. Thomas Haynes was the moderator, and presentations were made by the Presidents of Cessna and Williams, along with an owner/pilot of a jet plane.
I also went to the sessions on Managing Your Engine for Peak Performance, Flying your Airplane to Air shows and Aviation Events, and Fly-In Destinations in the East.
The Managing Your Engine seminar concentrated on operating the engine according to the POH. There wasn’t much in the way of new information for me. Of course, operating your plane often will save engine repairs down the road.
Flying Your Airplane to Air shows concentrated mostly on Sun-N-Fun and Oshkosh, along with this event. The presenter writes the annual NOTAM for Oshkosh, and he lives out there. A tip was to learn the engine settings for your plane to obtain a particular airspeed in advance so you can set it and then concentrate on the things necessary for high density traffic and be up to speed on visual identification.
Destinations in the East gave information on some of the better small airports and local attractions from Maine to northern Florida. Being from New England, many of the northern locations were a review, but there were some interesting airports to the south. The speaker advised us to not automatically assume you can’t land at airports labeled private/restricted on the sectional chart. Call ahead. Many owners welcome visitors, but don’t want to have their airport listed as public due to liability reasons.
The exhibition hall looked quite full. A row of tables along the back could have been removed if more space was sold, but there are still plenty of exhibitors.
The Cirrus Jet grew up to full-size from the model shown at Oshkosh. It’s still a non-flying prototype, but it does look nice with its 7 seat capacity. The PiperJet mockup is also present, along with Mooney. The Cessna LSA is also on the floor, and you can climb inside any of them. One of the busiest booths I saw was from the FAA Safety Team. Of course that was most likely because our good friend Jim Adams was manning that display.
SWAG is also very good at this event. Some of the best I’ve found are: Jeppeson gives a canvas bag that includes the event program. Lockheed/Martin has notebooks with pen, Aerotrader has office supply kits, whistles, and airplane pens, Columbia Aircraft has free bottled water in several locations on-site. Aerorecords has mints, Alamo has clips with a photo slot. CATS has foam planes similar to JayJay the Jet Plane, Aspen Avionics has nylon backpacks, and AOPA Life Insurance has cell phone holders. I also picked up a full-sized Aircraft Spruce catalog since I was finally at a show where I didn’t have to lug one of those back on a plane.
Tomorrow it’s more of the same plus the static display area.