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Sun, Dec. 08

Expensive 'toys' at Aircraft Expo in Prescott

Les Stukenberg/<br>The Daily Courier<br>Kevin Ragaller takes a close look at an Acclaim Type S airplane during the Arizona Aircraft Expo at Legends Aviation in the Prescott Airport on Friday. The show featuring eight aircraft continues through today.

Les Stukenberg/<br>The Daily Courier<br>Kevin Ragaller takes a close look at an Acclaim Type S airplane during the Arizona Aircraft Expo at Legends Aviation in the Prescott Airport on Friday. The show featuring eight aircraft continues through today.

The best-selling single-engine airplane in the world - the Cirrus Turbo - is among the small airplanes residents of the quad-community can view Saturday, in the second day of the Arizona Aircraft Expo at Legends Aviation at Prescott Airport.

Peter Hartmann of Paulden, who flew in in his 1970 Lake Amphibian, was like several people on hand. "I just came to look at the expensive toys," he said.

Brian Mackin, Arizona sales manager for Tom's Aircraft, said the expo is the result of Arizona's leading aircraft dealers getting together to promote aviation.

"It is also our opportunity to promote new aircraft sales and show off what we have to offer," he said.

Ken Goble, Cirrus' regional sales director for Arizona and New Mexico, said the thing that sets the Cirrus Turbo apart from others is it's "the airplane with a ballistic recovery system."

"The plane is built around the parachute."

He said the system saved 35 lives in 18 actual parachute pulls.

The Cirrus SR-20 and SR-22 Turbo cruise between 156 and 219 knots. The four-passenger planes start at $275,000 and go up to $600,000.

Goble said the Cirrus Turbo is "great for traveling and for the businessman who gets tired of flying by airlines."

"Airplanes are not a luxury (for businessmen), they are just a tool so businessmen can be more efficient," he said.

Goble said while sales are down nationwide, Cirrus is the only air small aircraft manufacturer with sales increasing in the second quarter over the first quarter.

Hartmann said he likes the Cessna 400 because it is pretty, comfortable to sit in, and fast. "It only has one major defect. It can't take off after a water landing like mine (Lake Amphibian) can," he said. "Its new whiz bang devices make it safer."

Mackin said the Cessna 400 Corvalis TT (twin turbine) appeals to the avid pilot because it is fast and sleek. It cruises at 235 knots at 25,000 feet, and has a sticker price of $620,000.

He also brought the Cessna Turbo 182 for people to look at. He said it is slower and can get into shorter and softer fields. Its maximum cruising speed is 176 knots at 20,000 feet.

Mackin said the new avionics give pilots a whole new level of safety. The Cessnas have terrain and traffic awareness devices, plus a storm scope for lightning, and XM Weather.

"Pilots have what the major airlines have at their fingertips," he said.

Bruce Cady, president of Aero Credit Corp. of Bend, Ore., was on hand to help any people wanting to buy a plane or ask questions about credit.

He said while aircraft sales are down substantially, they are still above the 2005 sales level.

"People concerned about the availability of money to buy an airplane need not be because it isn't an issue. I have a multitude of sources of funds," Cady said. People need a 15 percent down payment for a 20-year loan at 6.3 percent interest.

Colleen O'Neill of Dewey, said she and her husband came to the expo to look at the planes close up. Her only disappointment was that she couldn't get a ride in one of them.

Hawker Beechcraft of Scottsdale had a six-passenger Beechcraft Bonanza on display.

Kelly S. Harper, Hawker Beechcraft's regional sales director, said Beechcraft has built the Bonanza since 1947. He said they are displaying the Bonanza because the show has piston planes.

The Bonanza cruises at 171 knots at 10,500 feet, and sells for $665,000.

Michael Farley of US Zero, has a Diamond Aircraft DA-42 Twin Star twin engine plane with turbo-charged diesel engines. The four-passenger plane cruises at 165 knots, and sells for about $700,000.

He, like all the other representatives of the aircraft dealers, hopes people come out Saturday to look at the planes on display, ask questions and see if the plane they want to buy is on display.

The show runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free.

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