Epic Highlights – Much Fun at Sun ‘n Fun 2014!
I am rather an aviation newbie – well, not completely, since I’ve been involved in various aspects of aviation since 2004 – but this was my first Sun ‘n Fun, as well as my first trade show as an Epic employee. Sun ‘n Fun was remarkable for many reasons, including:
- The weather was great (I highly prefer tornado warnings to actual tornados).
- Attendees were very qualified and interested in Epic certification efforts.
- The daily air show was spectacular! And really, really noisy!
For those of you who have never had the opportunity to ‘work’ an air show, here’s the nitty-gritty, get down and dirty, low-down, behind the scenes look at what it takes to make it all happen … and have some fun, too.
PHASE 0: THE JOURNEY
Working for a company that builds one of the MOST AWESOME aircraft on the planet does not always mean you can FLY in that aircraft. Our event team happily ‘airlined’ our way to Florida, traversing four airports over the course of 12 hours. And we sure can’t complain about the airline food – because there was none – not even a peanut in sight! But we made it – refreshed and ready for show time! Well, at least set up.
PHASE 1: SET UP
Going from the west coast to east, you learn to sleep fast, because losing three hours is a lot harder in the morning than it was the night before. The truck arrived early – with a very full load! We were happy to have the “lull lift” (i.e. forklift on steroids) and even happier to have a highly competent ‘lull’ operator!
After getting the mock up in place, set up went smoothly, except for the tornado warnings and torrential rain storm Saturday. We are fortunate that our display includes the Seaplane Pilots Association building, which we transformed into an Epic Aircraft showcase! Great location adjacent to the main aircraft access gates – and (thankfully) with indoor plumbing! Note the beautiful new paver patio – special thanks to Don and team for making that happen in time for the show!
PHASE 2: FORGING ALLIANCES
This year, Epic sponsored the Sun ‘n Fun Volunteer Tug Team. We provided them with a picnic table and tent for much-needed shade, outfitted them in Epic t-shirts and hats, invited them to use the “indoor plumbing”, and made many, many fast friends! They were a great group – and we received truly ‘epic’ tug services! Thanks to Bonnie for helping us sponsor the hardworking Sun ‘n Fun Tug Volunteers!
We also forged strong alliances with several fellow aircraft manufacturers – and got some pretty cool perks as a result! Amazing how access to indoor plumbing boosts your popularity! (Note: this photo is not intended as an endorsement or promotion of any aircraft manufacturer based in Italy!)
PHASE 3: SHOWTIME!
We were fortunate to have several of our Epic Owners supporting us during the show! Billy and Christopher Ball flew their beautiful Epic, N35PZ, down from Jacksonville to participate in our Epic display. Daryl Ingalsbe hung out with our team all week, hosting CEO, Doug King, and CFO, Henry Boschma, at his home in Spruce Creek each night. Epic owner, Galen Manternach, also rode over from Sarasota for the day on his Harley!
We were also pleased to host Epic owner Gianfranco Somma and his lovely bride, Tatiana, who traveled from Brazil to support our Sun ‘n Fun sales efforts! Gianfranco did a tremendous job showcasing Epic to the many attendees from Central and South America. Gianfranco will represent Epic as our exclusive dealer in Brazil, the world’s second largest aviation marketplace after the U.S.
Hmm. Not everything at Sun ‘n Fun can fly – but perhaps some used to?? Case in point: the Spruce Creek ‘Jet Cart’.
Our EPIC AIRCRAFT was NOT intimidated, despite the Jet Cart ‘smoking engine’ special effects! On Saturday night, Epic hosted a gathering, with food and beverages. Our Lancair buddies showed up in force – wherever there is food & drink! Epic owners, Todd and Milene Miller stopped by en route to the Dominican Republic. Big fun was had by all – culminating in an impressive night-time air show and non-stop fireworks display!