News-Sun photo by KATARA SIMMONS A bird's eye view of the 2013 U.S. Sport Aviation Expo at Sebring Regional Airport.
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published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Plenty to enjoy next few days at Air Expo
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Flying high is the name of the game at the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo this weekend. Opening ceremonies kicked off at 10 a.m. Thursday with a number of interesting and fun-filled events to follow in the coming days.
Sebring Regional Airport will be buzzing with enthusiasts, soon-to-be pilots and seasoned veterans. Of course, there's always a few who fall into a category all their own, like Phillip Herrington.
Herrington is a young pilot, just 18 years old, who spends his days learning the ins and outs of flight. The poster child for Breezer Aircraft USA works with the company on a volunteer basis, doing everything from demo flights to office work.
In his second year as an Expo attendee, Herrington and his left wing, Mike Zidziunas, kicked off the ninth annual Expo with style. The duo performed a choreographed fly-in just after the opening ceremonies at 10 a.m.
For big shows like the Expo, the young pilot coordinates the flying formations several weeks prior to the event and practice, or "refresh" as Herrington called it, up until the time of the event.
Breezer Aircraft USA pilots display several formations including S-line approachers, Lazy 8 formations and much more. Herrington and his wingmate are excited to perform at the night shows this weekend on Friday and Saturday, opening for some of the Team Aerodynamics show.
Following the Expo, Herrington and Zidziunas will coordinate and participate in the fly-out to the Bahamas, which takes place at the close of the Expo each year.
"We were the very first light sport airplane to fly to the Bahamas," Herrington said proudly. "In fact, after us, the Bahamas laws, which are pretty much the same as ours, made it legal to fly in this type of aircraft around the island."
The Expo provides ample opportunity for the young pilots to gain unique and hands-on experience. With thousands of pilots and aviators in attendance, the pilots are able to not only share their love of aviation but gain from it as well.
"We try to show people, especially young high school students like us, that it doesn't take a super hero to do this (fly). It's fun, it does take work but just about anyone can do it," Herrington said.
Breezer Aircraft USA will be in attendance at the Expo through Sunday. Booths 801 and 802 will be open for anyone interested in information or demonstrations.
Breezer is the only American dealer for the German-made metal side-by-side Rotax 912 plane. The cost of the plane is approximately $80,000. Demo rides for $80 can be set up for interested buyers.
As far as the Expo, the young pilot enjoys every aspect of it.
"There is no where better in this world to be than out here at night, just sitting out and looking at the runway lights. There's nothing that makes this one (Expo) better than the last it's just a great feeling being here. We may sell a plane, we might not but there is nothing better. It's amazing," Herrington said.
The Sebring Air Expo will continue through Sunday.
For more information about events, exhibits, entertainment and more visit the Expo website at www.sport-aviation-expo.com/.
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