Despite the rain,
exhibitors have enjoyed good business. Photo by Amy Gesch
Vendors in the four
Exhibit Hangars say things are going well for them this year.
Photo by DeKevin Thornton
With clouds looming overhead, exhibitor
areas were quiet Saturday morning with far fewer guests than mornings
earlier in the week.
However, exhibitors said business was
pretty average as compared to past years, though it was iffy the first
few days due to the rainy weather.
At the Zenith Aircraft display, Sebastian
Heintz, owner of the company, said business was going well. "We
were all worried at the beginning of the week," Heintz said,
pointing out that their display area was covered in water when they
arrived last Saturday.
Feelings were similar at the Van's
Gus Funnell of Van's said business may
have been a little slower because fewer pilots flew in due to the
weather and condition of the grounds. Funnell said the Van's display
area "was a swamp" when they arrived, and setting up "was
a nasty experience."
Despite early worries, business went on
as usual for the exhibitors.
Funnell said business is down a little from peak years, but traffic was
"We sell a lot of kits when we
introduce a new model," Funnell said. In past years when there was
a new Van's model, Funnell said they sold about 40 kits; this year,
they've sold about 15 kits.
Next year, Funnell said Van's will
probably have some new products.
Back at the Zenith exhibit, Heintz said
there were a lot of people visiting and a lot of interest in Zenith
kits. As for sales, Heintz said he views EAA AirVenture Oshkosh more as
a venue to promote the product rather than a sales venue.
The Zenith exhibit allows guests to sit
in the airplanes and do some comparison shopping, Heintz said, adding
that he often encourages customers to go home and decide on purchases so
they can make more rational choices.
"A lot of the guys are like kids in
candy stores out here," Heintz said. "They want two of
Heintz said he has been coming to EAA
AirVenture for more than 20 years.
"Oshkosh is kind of the start and
end of our fiscal year," Heintz said, adding that they plan new
products around the convention. "This week on the calendar is
always set in stone."
Action on The Farm
In the Ultralight area, exhibitors noted an upturn in visitors.
Travis Brown of Kolb Aircraft noted a lot
of interest in their planes.
"We were up in the GA area for the
past three years," Travis said, "things seem to be going
better up here. "We're getting back to what it was like
Jeff Jensen from Comtronics has also seen
an increase in foot traffic down on The Farm.
Sales, however, have not followed the
trend. "We wish sales were better," he said. "Right now,
they're about average."
Karen Oltman of Quad City Ultralights
thought that things were going well-they have already sold an airplane
during the show. Nonetheless, she says there are less people than last
year. "Last year we were swamped," she said.
Mainline improvements ...
Back in main commercial-area exhibit hangars, things are also going
well, vendors reported.
David McLain from Icom said that things
were "way better" than last year. He cited a promotion they
have where customers who buy their product from any distributor at EAA
AirVenture can bring their receipts in for a free flight bag.
So far, they have given away more than
Sarasota Avionics International's Kirk
Fryar says he's noticed a lot more international visitors at AirVenture
this year and a lot more people in general.
"This is the most fun we've had in
10 years," he said, "and the volunteers at the gate have been
Sherpa Turbine moved to a new spot in the
exhibit area this year, but what was initially a concern ended up being
a good thing. "At first I wasn't happy that they moved me,"
Glen Gordon said, "but this spot is looking to be better than last