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AERO Friedrichshafen Opens 20th Air Show

 

EAA's AERO Friedrichshafen exhibit
EAA's AERO Friedrichshafen exhibit showcases the innovative evolo Volocopter VC1, which is powered by 16 two-kilowatt electric motors arranged in clusters of four. (Photo by Marino Boric)

By Marino Boric, EAA 1069644, for EAA.org

April 18, 2012 - More than 550 exhibitors from 28 nations have gathered on the scenic shore of Lake Constance in southern Germany for the 20th AERO Friedrichshafen GA trade show, which opens today and runs through Saturday, April 21. Aircraft manufacturers (GA, European ultralight, and LSA), along with makers of avionics, engines, and other components have brought with them plenty of news - perhaps more than insiders expected considering the rather stagnant world aviation market.

In contrast to the usual "nothing new on the engine front," AERO 2012 is shaping up as an "engines year." European manufactures are bringing a wide array of new engines and concepts to this event to be showcased in the new Engine Avenue area.

Among the new offerings anticipated this year are the previously announced BRP-Rotax 912iS fuel injected engine; UL-Power's six-cylinder 180/200-hp engine; Hirth's F40 two-stroke, 120-hp, multi-fuel concept; and Italian manufacturer MW-Fly's new 125/130-hp "engine in a suitcase."

Also returning for its fourth year is the e-Flight Expo, highlighting the emerging electric aircraft field. Most flying machines at AERO are traditional airplanes powered by single or twin reciprocating engines. Light aircraft, including European light aircraft (ELA), ultralights, and the United States' LSA category, comprise the largest number of display aircraft. A slight decrease of new models was predicted, especially after last year's successful event, but it appears that AERO 2012 is going to surprise once again, with lots of world premieres and evolutions of existing models.

Several world premieres are expected in the "upper segment," such as the single-engine Pipistrel Panthera, a large twin-diesel from Diamond Aircraft, and Flight Design's C4, with the final design of the single-engine four-seater to be unveiled. Other debuts include the Oma Sud Redbird, Flywhale amphibian, and PC Aero's all-electric Elektra One Solar.

Exhibitor Demonstration Flights 2012

"Everything that flies" is the theme at AERO Friedrichshafen 2012, and exhibitors will have opportunities to demo aircraft at the nearby airport daily from 1:30-2:30 p.m. through Saturday. The range of featured products will include ultralights, single- and multiengine aircraft, helicopters, and gyrocopters. A large AERO visitor area near the Zeppelin Hangar will offer great flight demonstration viewing.

New AERO Tent City

For the first time AERO is offering an indoor campground to allow attending visitors the option of renting ready-to-use tents right at the exhibition grounds. The "AERO Tent City" is located in Rothaus Hall (Exhibition Hall A1), and one- and two-person tents (room for 150 guests) are available for 20 to 25 Euros ($26/33 U.S.) per person/per night.

EAA members who wish to attend receive free admission by presenting their EAA membership card. Doors are open at from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. EAA members are invited to stop by EAA's booth located in Hall B3.

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