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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedSell-abration: Vendors ecstatic about crowd
By Randy Dufault, EAA AirVenture Today
  
Photo by Randy Dufault
Sebastian Heintz of Zenith Aircraft (left) shows Walt Snyder a possible upgrade to the Quicksilver Sport which Snyder flew here from California.

July 30, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - Given the state of the economy and the changes many companies in the general aviation industry have had to make over the past year, vendors displaying their wares at AirVenture are pleasantly surprised at the business activity experienced so far.

Overall there seems to be a strong consensus this year that the weather is great, the crowd is great, and EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is the place to be.

“The weather is perfect other than Monday’s rain showers,” said Tom Aniello, vice president of marketing for Cessna.

“We’ve been here since late last week…and just ballparking, it looks like there are more people here than I’ve seen in 10 years,” Aniello said.

“This is a pleasant surprise, I’d say. You always have the fear that with the economy the way it is, people are going to cut out attending events like this, but [this crowd] seems to show people are positive and enthusiastic about aviation.

“[Cessna President] Jack Pelton said the other day that Oshkosh is good for the soul, and that is absolutely true. You get recharged.”

Much of the interest in the Cessna booth centers on the 162 SkyCatcher, the company’s entry into the light-sport aircraft market. SkyCatcher deliveries are expected to begin next year.

Lynn Thomas, sales manager for Quest Aircraft Company, saw a slow start.

“I thought the crowd was a bit light on Monday, but Tuesday was just wonderful,” he said.

It’s nice to see that people are enthusiastic and, in particular, enthusiastic about our airplanes.”

He went on to say, “This is like coming home every year. In the months before [EAA AirVenture Oshkosh] you anticipate how much fun it is going to be, and when you get here you have even more fun.”

Skip Koss, vice president of marketing for Concorde Battery Corporation, said, “This has been a terrific week so far. “It has been our biggest ever, no questions asked.”

He added that it seems to be the same sort of people as in years past, but there are just more of them.

Stein Bruch, president of SteinAir Inc., a homebuilt component supplier and custom panel builder, said, “The crowd is just fantastic, much better than last year.

“People are spending money, but they are being careful with major equipment purchases—just being more conscientious consumers.”

Craig Barnett of Scheme Designers has been very busy talking to people.

 “But they are being careful shoppers,” he said.

Scheme Designers, an aircraft-finish design firm, recently added a capability for previewing aircraft-finish designs in full-motion 3-D.

Sebastian Heintz of Zenith Aircraft Company had an option to move into some of the newly reconfigured exhibit areas, but instead he kept his longtime space in the North Aircraft Display area.

“Like many folks we are a bit afraid of change,” Heintz said. “We wanted to make sure our customers and builders could find us.

“The traffic is good, and that was a pleasant surprise. At 8 Monday morning we already had a crowd.”

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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