We just got back from Sun N Fun 2021 and happy to report that aviation is alive and well. The campgrounds were at max and the aircraft parking was in overflow. Not as many vendors showed up to meet the more than expected crowds. On our row in hangar C, half of the booths were empty and the remaining were taken up sadly by non-aircraft vendors of flag poles, cell phone cases, cooking classes, shoe inserts, and sunglasses (I guess the last one could pass as aviation themed). But, we weren't complaining too loudly since the same number of customers had fewer options, that meant more visibility and sales for Aithre.
Probably the highlight of the show for me was presenting on hypoxia risks above 8k feet with customer and new bestie, Dr. James Runnels from Baton Rouge. James is an ER physician that loves our products so much for use in his Mooney, that he was willing to fly to Florida, camp, and do all four classes with me. He did such a good job on the carbon monoxide half of the presentation, that I kept trimming my hypoxia/altitude portion to give him space.
On one of my treks to back to the classroom, I found this rooster pilot sitting outside the front door eyeballing the entrance. I'm convinced he heard about our great presentation and was trying to get back into high altitude flight. I stared him down, but he didn't budge. We were on the second floor and I don't think he was able to get that high without oxygen or an endorsement on this day.
We will be doing the same class with James again at AirVenture 2021, so make sure you plan for it.
The airshow was amazing, for the few times I was able to escape the hangar to the flight line. The Blue Angels were there and didn't disappoint, with very low fly-bys that definitely pushed the boundaries. Exciting, loud, and fast and a welcome sound after more than a year away from the show scene.
Each night after the show, Zu and I went out with a new customer friend. We did Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Pete's, which were all movable places for me - loved the vibe and the ocean environment in Florida. On our last night, we actually had a customer give us his beachfront condo for the night. He and his crew fly to Idaho every year and when he found out we were building our products in Ketchum, we instantly connected. He will be coming back up our way in a month and we hope to return the favor and fly with them into some of the gentleman strips suitable for my low pant RV-10.
Looking ahead, we will be bring more tech and stepping up our booth game at AirVenture 2021. We will be looking to feature some customers at our booth to help answer questions about use of our technology, in exchange for credit toward our new products. If you want to donate a few hours at the booth during the week and currently use (and like of course) a number of our products, please contact us and we can get you scheduled for a slot.
We are already sad that SNF is over and even sadder to hear that Friedrichshafen has been officially cancelled again. But, the silver lining is that we have new friendships, relationships, and have the big one on the schedule in a couple of months.