sun n fun as a homebuilt trade show?

Brad W

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How would you rate SnF as a trade show for experimental homebuilts?

So I've so far found 2 out of the 2 manufacturers I wanted to visit, aren't going to be there!
Rans
F1 Rocket
and I don't see Van's on the list either...so maybe 3 out of 3 ish.... although I'm not as driven to visit Van's this year.

I want to get a little more serious about finding a kit to build. Planning on driving my motorhome down and staying at least most of the show this year.

I got onto a rat trail looking at the F1 rocket recently, although if I'm honest it's probably too much of a hotrod for me. Still, I'd kinda like to see one and explore it to learn more. Not gonna be at sun n fun
I'm much more seriously curious about the Ran's S21 Outbound. Nope, not gonna be there.
I've been watching Van for a while now, and was very curious about the RV-15, but since their financial troubles, I'm less interested in getting on that path....still, I don't see them on the list. Understandable, given their situation

I really don't have any other kits on my radar at the moment, that I'm serious about....so I'm feeling kinda aimless about sun n fun this year.
 
It ain’t Osh. I talked to a vendor a few views ago and the truth of the matter is they all have limited budgets and SnF is a haul for most of them, attendance is too small for the cost so the ROI simply isn’t enough except for the biggest or closest vendors. So IOW if you can only afford to do one event you go to the largest which is Osh.
 
I've been to SnF a few times (pre and post-2020) - I've never gotten the impression that it's a good place for the homebuilder. I definitely second the opinion that you need to go to Osh if that is your goal. SnF is a good place to escape the cold weather, watch an airshow, socialize (especially if camping), take a few plane pictures and look at equipment we can't afford.

Oh, and randomly walk into @SixPapaCharlie , who chose that particular day to show up unannounced, hoping for some peace and quiet.
 
Sun n fun is usually a warm sunny environment,but for home builders Osh is the place to be.
 
Pretty sure Zenith is going to be there along with Viking engines. Great combos.
 
Vans is skipping sun n fun? I get why, but imo its a real bad thing. Sad.

I’ve personally never seen the other two at sunnfun, and don’t recall either at Oshkosh, but I may have missed them there.
 
Vans is skipping sun n fun? I get why, but imo its a real bad thing. Sad.

I’ve personally never seen the other two at sunnfun, and don’t recall either at Oshkosh, but I may have missed them there.
I haven’t seen anything from Vans about skipping SnF but they aren’t on the 2024 exhibiters list which isn’t a surprise. As for Zenith and Viking (aka Eggenfellner Subaru) they are regulars at Osh and I’ve seen them at SnF. The former is a solid company, the latter you couldn’t pay me enough to use. That’s my opinion and I’m not going to debate it. Google them and draw your own conclusion.
 
As for Zenith and Viking (aka Eggenfellner Subaru) they are regulars at Osh and I’ve seen them at SnF. The former is a solid company, the latter you couldn’t pay me enough to use.
Would you consider their direct competitor, AeroMomentum?
 
Would you consider their direct competitor, AeroMomentum?
I know nothing about them or their engines, so no. That said I’m not a fan of auto conversions or anything with a PSRU. The lone the exception is direct drive Corvair engines and even then only if they have been rebuilt per William Wynne and Fly Corvair.
 
I've been to sun n fun many times. Airventure a few times. My last visit to sun n fun was 2 years ago, and I spent a lot of time with the RV-14 at van's tent. That was the first show where I was starting to look at things with an eye towards experimental. For years before I always thought of snf as basically a mini-airventure.... seemed like most all the same vendors, just fewer and smaller-named presenters, and fewer classes.
But I've started to feel like it's an aimless sort of trade show. A lot of big high-dollar aircraft doing the show thing.... like the big turbines, multi-million dollar stuff, but then there is a strong scattering of vendors selling stuff for builders to use... avionics, accessories, tools, and such.... It's like it wants to be but it's not.

It's just a bummer for me. I can get to sun n fun easily, but airventure is a significantly bigger commitment....just because of where I live. I was looking forward to sun n fun this year with a renewed purpose.... still am I guess, but I kinda feel like a sailboat caught in the doldrums....and thinking that maybe I should save my vacation days for airventure this year instead.
 
I've been to sun n fun many times. Airventure a few times. My last visit to sun n fun was 2 years ago, and I spent a lot of time with the RV-14 at van's tent. That was the first show where I was starting to look at things with an eye towards experimental. For years before I always thought of snf as basically a mini-airventure.... seemed like most all the same vendors, just fewer and smaller-named presenters, and fewer classes.
But I've started to feel like it's an aimless sort of trade show. A lot of big high-dollar aircraft doing the show thing.... like the big turbines, multi-million dollar stuff, but then there is a strong scattering of vendors selling stuff for builders to use... avionics, accessories, tools, and such.... It's like it wants to be but it's not.

It's just a bummer for me. I can get to sun n fun easily, but airventure is a significantly bigger commitment....just because of where I live. I was looking forward to sun n fun this year with a renewed purpose.... still am I guess, but I kinda feel like a sailboat caught in the doldrums....and thinking that maybe I should save my vacation days for airventure this year instead.
My take is SnF is about a quarter the size of Osh. There are vendors there that cater to the E-AB community, but for the reasons I stated you just don’t get the same draw as Osh—that’s not new. So I guess it’s all about expectation management.
 
snf has not been a homebuilt show for years, im not convinced they even want us there anymore. they have banished us to the far end of the airport with no improvements to the HBP area since the move, even though they promised that changes were coming. honestly, the event has become nothing more than a profit center for their stem program. notice that the fly in name went a way a few years ago. i really believe that if they could get the attendance without people flying in they would. every year more and more empty booths an more booths selling cookware, flag poles, hats, cd's jewlery ect and fewer and fewer airplane related vendors. the showcase flyby went away years ago and airshow gets longer and more boring every year. you can only see so many extras fly in one day. im not sure it really matters anymore since the shows days are numbered, as amazon calls all the shots at the airport anyway now. last year hundreds of us were held up for 20 minutes trying to leave so that amazon could bring two planes in. im not sure im even going this year and im only a 30 minute flight away.
 
I've never gotten the impression that it's a good place for the homebuilder. I definitely second the opinion that you need to go to Osh if that is your goal.

That's to be expected. Osh is an EAA event, and homebuilders are the core of EAA. SnF is its own organization.
 
My take is SnF is about a quarter the size of Osh. There are vendors there that cater to the E-AB community, but for the reasons I stated you just don’t get the same draw as Osh—that’s not new. So I guess it’s all about expectation management.
Your "quarter the size" feels about right. What holds SNF back, IMO, is the lack of infrastructure for fly-in attendees. There are few (no?) restaurants within walking distance. Same for grocery or beer stores. Same for other supplies. If there are busses that make rounds from the airport to other places around town, I've missed 'em. Despite being a smaller show, SnF is a bigger logistical challenge than Osh because fly-in attendees need to be even more self-contained and bring more stuff to camp with. One gripe I've always had with SnF is they have no plan for a fly-in attendee who rents a car or who has a friend come to the show by car. There is no long term parking. There is no way to get a parking pass (to park somewhere (anywhere) on the grounds) tied to camping with an airplane. They make it hard.
 
That's to be expected. Osh is an EAA event, and homebuilders are the core of EAA. SnF is its own organization.
SnF used to be an EAA affiliate until the crash out West (Copperstate?) where a fellow apparently rushed his pre-takeoff checklist and died in a departure crash with his control lock ( allegedly a seatbelt) still "on". The family sued everyone in sight and EAA was the big pocket defendant. EAA backed out of being an airshow affiliate after that at all of the non-EAA sponsored fly-in's.
 
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......honestly, the event has become nothing more than a profit center for their stem program.

Yeah, there's definitely been a shift in that direction, and COVID nudged some vendors away who haven't returned. I was hoping iFly would attend this year as I'd like to get a look at their new tablet and mount, but they're not coming.

....as amazon calls all the shots at the airport anyway now.

That's becoming a bigger and bigger problem. I don't know of any solutions, either; there's not really a suitable alternative for SNF that provides as much land and facilities.
 
SnF sed to be an EAA affiliate until the crash out West (Copperstate?) where a fellow apparently rushed his pre-takeoff checklist and died in a departure crash with his control lock ( allegedly a seatbelt) still "on". The family sued everyone in site and EAA was the big pocket defendant. EAA backed out of being an airshow affiliate after that at all of the non-EAA sponsored fly-in's.

Ah. Didn't know those details, though I knew SNF used to have an EAA tie in the past. So it's yet another nice thing we can't have anymore thanks to lawyers?
 
I don't understand the complaints about Amazon affecting Sun-n-Fun. I haven't seen anything egregious. I've been delayed far longer than 20 minutes for far stupider things. Personally, I think they've done a good job accommodating the show.
 
That's becoming a bigger and bigger problem. I don't know of any solutions, either; there's not really a suitable alternative for SNF that provides as much land and facilities.
Lawyers are a part of it, but there is a general shift in the culture where lots of people are very happy to sue whoever is in sight when something bad happens. 90 year old relative dies of "old"? Sue the doctor for malpractice. Relative dies in a plane crash because he made a mistake? Sue someone.

It bothers me.
 
It depends what you are looking after. The number of vendors seems to be dwindling, as well the the quality of the used exchange/market. It has definitively gone from an event that catered to pilots/homebuilders to one that's about the general public. It used to be, the general public couldn't even walk to the flight line.

If you are looking to build; the main kit is only one part. Other vendors for avionics, parts, etc. will be there and hopefully you can look at some already built airplane on the flight line. There are benefits to going past the initial kit decision.
 
Lawyers are a part of it, but there is a general shift in the culture where lots of people are very happy to sue whoever is in sight when something bad happens. 90 year old relative dies of "old"? Sue the doctor for malpractice. Relative dies in a plane crash because he made a mistake? Sue someone.

It bothers me.
A woman sued universal studios haunted house for scaring her too much...at a place she paid to scare her just enough. She won. 15k for mental anguish.

Yeah, tort reform is long overdue.
 
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