Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2019 Issue
The annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo hosted at Sebring Regional Airport in Sebring, Florida since 2003, has been canceled effective immediately, as announced by the airport authority on May 30. The airport will instead focus on youth and growing the future of aviation. The city of Sebring’s Highlands County school board was one of dozens across the United States that is participating in the AOPA High School Initiative that offers free aviation-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum to ninth and tenth grade teachers and students.
The airport authority’s statement also said that it would “focus more resources and energy toward the development of new programs in emerging aviation areas including manned, optionally manned, and unmanned systems” that include “aerial, terrestrial, and marine platforms.”
The Sebring event had grown in popularity since light sport aircraft burst onto the scene in the early 2000s with hopes to provide pilots with a lower cost pathway to the sky through smaller aircraft and alternative licensing regulations.
During the fifteenth anniversary show in January 2019, the event was affected by high winds and a tornado watch that canceled forums, several introductory flights, and other activities. In 2016, the Deland Sport Aviation Showcase, held in November, also in Florida, began to compete with the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo (AOPA).