Some of West Volusia’s best-kept secret economic drivers are hidden away in hangars across DeLand Municipal Airport. Two such booming small businesses are jammed into a plain-fronted hangar on Biscayne Boulevard on the airport grounds.
Alex Rolinski builds ultralight Aero Aviation seaplanes, finished or in kit form, while Bryan Tittle has created a high-tech, stand-alone flight instrument gadget called a WingBug, which has won awards for its innovative design.
Both the innovative seaplanes and the WingBug will be displayed at the Nov. 1-3 Sport Aviation Showcase right on their home field.
“This is a very good, cost-effective show for us, since we live here and know the airspace,” Rolinski enthused.
He and his five employees have a hangar full of new and reconditioned seaplanes, but he hopes to sell only two planes at the show itself.
“If we sold more than two, we’d have to take orders for next-summer delivery, since we’re booked up to next June deliveries already,” he added. His Aventura kit seaplane can sell for between $60,000 and $70,000, depending on accessories. If you want a completed plane, it will cost close to $100,000.
Tittle operates his Straight and Level Technologies LLC to build and sell the elegantly sleek, small WingBug, which is attached to a sport plane’s wing and feeds data from several miniature digital sensors to a cockpit iPad. In a housing designed to be clamped to a wing strut, and weighing less than 12 ounces, is every flight instrument needed to operate an ultralight or to back up existing instruments in any sport aviation plane.
Their WingBug has won an Innovation design award from the Experimental Aircraft Association, and a free display booth at the famous Oshkosh (Wisconsin) air show this summer. Along with all required flight instruments, WingBug’s GPS can reproduce a pilot’s training flight pattern to aid training, or provide the records needed for an experimental aircraft’s certification. Tittle hopes to sell upward of 200 units at the November Showcase event, and already has WingBugs installed on planes around the world.
To accommodate their fast-growing businesses, Rolinski and Tittle are leasing one of the six new hangars in the Municipal Airport’s Sport Aviation Village, which currently is under construction on the east side of the airfield.
“We are expanding into a new 10,000-square-foot hangar, and we hope by next year’s Showcase we can be moved in and hosting customers in our expanded facilities for both the seaplanes and WingBugs,” Tittle said.
Both entrepreneurs agreed that DeLand Municipal Airport is ideal for businesses like theirs, citing the concentration of similar businesses, two restaurants on airport grounds, and the annual Sport Aviation Showcase, at which they have exhibited in both of its two previous years.