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DeLand Municipal Airport’s Sport Aviation Showcase just got a strong boost into the top tier of sport-aviation shows in the country with the signing of the leading magazine for home airplane builders as the principal media sponsor of this November’s event.

Kitplanes magazine will spotlight DeLand’s Nov. 1-3 show to its 120,000 subscribers, both before and after the show, giving exhibitors the incentive of free publicity. Its well-known editor (who has built and flies three of his own planes) will be the DeLand Showcase’s keynote speaker. Paul Dye was the longest-tenured flight director in NASA history, has a commercial pilot’s license, and has logged more than 5,000 flight hours.

For those interested in buying or building their own airplane from a kit, Kitplanes is required reading, with monthly articles on the complexities of the hundreds of construction requirements to build a safe and flyable plane.

“The Kitplane magazine partnership is a perfect fit with the DeLand Showcase for builders, buyers and fliers,” enthused Jana Filip, sport-aviation coordinator for DeLand Municipal Airport and the principal mover behind the growing importance of the local November event.

Filip expects more than 100 exhibitors in all varieties of sport-aviation gear, from completed planes to do-it-yourself kits, ultralights and gyrocopters, to sport parachutes and their gear, radios, navigation and safety essentials.

In only the Sport Aviation Showcase’s second year last year, approximately 800 exhibitor personnel brought close to $1 million into the local economy while reporting more than $1 million in sales during the three days the event runs. This year’s event, with the media attention brought by Kitplanes, should have even more of an impact, Filip projects.

“The DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase’s layout right next to the airport’s runways offers a unique ‘fly before you buy’ opportunity during our showcase for potential purchasers,” Filip pointed out.

“Our lineup of exhibitors this year represents the Who’s Who in international sport aviation,” Filip added. “We will be represented by exhibitors from over 35 states, and maybe six or seven other countries.”

Largely due to the growing reputation of DeLand as a national mecca for both skydiving gear and kit-building planes and ultralight aircraft, six new commercial hangar locations in a dedicated Sport Aviation Village are being prepared for leasing this year. Filip noted that she has active interest from some overseas manufacturers to locate their North American headquarters and assembly operations in the new hangars on the eastern edge of the airport property. These new businesses will bring high-skilled, high-paying jobs to West Volusia residents.

Marketing efforts for Showcase 2018 will be assisted by two grants, Filip said: Visit Florida awarded an Advertising Matching Grant, to be used to promote tourism advantages of the State of Florida, and the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority will support the showcase through an Event Marketing Partnership.

“Being a young event, Showcase certainly appreciates the support of these two tourism organizations,” Filip said.

Local sponsorships for this year’s Showcase are still invited from local motels, restaurants and services interested in attracting the more than 5,000 expected attendees, Filip mentioned. She can be contacted at filip@deland.org.

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Barb and her husband, Jeff, were both born in Kokomo, Indiana, a factory town surrounded by cornfields about 50 miles north of Indianapolis. In 1979, they set out on a road trip that would define their lives, and would end with their taking up residence in DeLand. After working at the DeLand Sun News and the Orlando Sentinel 1979-92, Barb helped found The Beacon, and was appointed publisher and CEO in 2013. Since late 2004, Barb has also managed Conrad Realty Co.’s historic property in Downtown DeLand, where The Beacon is an anchor tenant.


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