Europe's largest GA trade show underway in GermanyBy Kent Misegades
EAA’s Director of Business Relations, Jeff Kaufman, ready for business at AERO 2009.
The components for the F30, a metalized version of the well-known wooden Falco from Stelio Frati, are skillfully crafter by Golden Car of Italy, whose customers include supercar maker Lamborghini.
This self-launching, Italian-made “Silent 2 Targa” glider from Alisport is powered by a retractable jet engine made in Germany by TBS, Turbinenbau Schuberth.
Hydropteron amphibian from Hungarian IDEA Aircraft.
April 3, 2009 — AERO Friedrichshafen, Europe’s largest trade show for general aviation (GA), opened on April 2, in this city on one of Europe’s natural lakes, Lake Constance or “der Bodensee” as it’s known in German. Like EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, AERO is a number of shows in one, and it is the showcase for new products for the European sport aviation scene.
AERO is a trade show for aircraft manufacturers and their suppliers; it’s a conference on the status of business and political issues concerning general aviation in Europe; it’s an opportunity for prospective buyers to take a demo flight; and on weekends AERO becomes a popular attraction for the public with an extensive air show. This year, AERO is highlighted by a special seminar on electric propulsion, the first-ever e-Flight-Expo, focusing on electrical, ecological and evolutionary flight advancements.
A few statistics on this year’s event bodes well for the show: 625 exhibitors were present, a 12 percent increase over the previous event in 2007 (starting with the 2009 event, AERO will now be held annually); 52 percent of exhibitors are from outside Germany, representing 27 different countries. American exhibitors are the largest single international contingent. Seventy percent of all visitors to AERO have pilot licenses and come shopping for new aircrafts and aviation products.
As the leading European GA trade show, it is compared to EAA AirVenture, and for that reason EAA and AERO established an agreement in 2008 for mutual promotion. A joint meeting prior to the show, led by EAA officials, focused on extending the ASTM certification for LSA aircraft to Europe. If approved, U.S.-based manufacturers will gain easier access to European markets for their products, which now require a separate certification through EASA, the European Aircraft Safety Agency.
Further examples of the EAA-AERO collaboration was the keynote address made by EAA President Tom Poberezny at the opening ceremonies, and a reception to be held by EAA on Friday evening with special guest, Hal Shevers, founder of Sporty’s Pilot Shop.
Judging from the crowds surrounding the hundreds of displays on Thursday, the show started on a strong note. AERO is the showcase for new products for the European sport aviation scene. Some of the latest introductions seen so far include:
- the Italian “F30” sport plane, an all-aluminum version of the wooden Falco from Stelio Frati;
- the compact TP100 turboprop from the Czech company PBS;
- a sleek tandem LSA sport plane, the Slovakian “Shark”;
- an electric-powered aerobatic version of the German Silence “Twister”;
- the Avana Aerospace “Larus”, a luxury 6-place, composite turboprop amphibian from Hungary;
- the German-made TBS jet engine powering the Italian-made “Silent” sailplane;
- from Hungary the Corvus “Racer 540”, an aircraft designed specifically for the Red Bull racing series;
- and the latest version of the award-winning, highly-efficient “Virus” from Pipistrel of Slovenia.
Everywhere one turns in the expansive, hangar-like halls of the Friedrichshafen “Messe” convention center, located only a few steps from an even larger hangar where a Zeppelin NT is housed, one sees electric-powered aircraft, hybrid propulsion systems and a cornucopia of advanced two-stroke and four-stroke engines burning a wide variety of fuels. Clealy, Europeans are doing their best to stay one step ahead of the rising fuel costs and environmental issues impacting sport aviation. All in all, AERO 2009 is shaping up to be another great showcase for the best in new aeronautical technology from the other side of the Atlantic.