Friedrichshafen - The AERO 2017 is on course to break booking records, just in time for its anniversary. The aviation trade show is taking place for the 25th time this year and with 707 exhibitors will achieve the best result in its history. From April 5 to 8, 2017, the largest general aviation trade show in Europe will exhibit ultralights, single and twin-engine airplanes, business jets, helicopters, gyrocopters and gliders. In addition, several special shows will again be featured this year, including the e-flight-expo, Avionics Avenue, the Engine Area, "Be a pilot” and UAS Expo/AERODrones, which focuses on civilian drones and unmanned aircraft, as well as the used aircraft market. As an anniversary present to visitors, on Saturday an air show with electric aircraft and stunt planes, as well as a replica of a Junkers F13, will take place in the skies over the fairgrounds.
Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellman and project leader Roland Bosch are pleased that more exhibition space for the 25th AERO has been booked than ever before. The record bookings are a sign of how essential it is for aviation companies to present themselves to potential customers in Friedrichshafen. "2017 is the year that electrically powered aircraft will really come into their own,” says Roland Bosch, addressing one of the focal points of the show, which will provide visitors with a look into the future of general aviation. Correspondingly, several premieres of electric aircraft are planned at the show on Lake Constance.
The AERO 2017 offers a comprehensive overview: The range of aircraft at the AERO stretches from gliders, ultralights, single- and multi-engine piston-driven aircraft, helicopters, gyrocopters and turboprops all the way up to multi-engine jets. Visitors will also be able to see civilian drones and unmanned aircraft. New motors, the most modern avionics and aviation services and accessories will be additional focal points. A special highlight is planned on Saturday to celebrate the AERO’s 25th anniversary: at 11 a.m., an air show will take place. Planes participating in the show will mainly include new electrically powered aircraft, there will be special aerobatic flights, and a replica of a historic 1920’s Junkers F13, which first flew in 2016, is expected to appear.
The AERO makes history
The history of the global show for general aviation began 40 years ago with just 14 exhibitors of gliders and pilot accessories as part of the exhibition Rennsport, Motor, Freizeit ("Racing, Motor, Leisure") that was held at the time. In the following years, the AERO became a show in its own right starting in 1993 and was held every two years at that time. The show continued to expand, benefiting from both its aviation-friendly location in Friedrichshafen as well as from the boom in ultralight aircraft. In 1995, the business aviation segment was added to the show for the first time and the AERO portfolio was expanded to include avionics, maintenance and services. The move to the new exhibition center directly adjacent to the airport in 2002 provided yet another strong impulse for the growth of the show. All of these factors have combined to make the AERO what it is today, the world’s leading exhibition for innovation in general aviation.
All of the established manufacturers of conventionally powered aircraft will be showing the broad spectrum of machines that they have on offer, starting with aircraft with piston-driven engines on up to turboprops. A number of premieres will be at the center of the show; for example, Italian manufacturer Tecnam will present its twin-engine P2012 Traveller. The eleven-seat machine with new innovative Lycoming iE2 piston driven engines is the first completely new development in this class for some time. Flight testing of the P2012 is being temporarily interrupted just so that it may attend the AERO.
For the first time, it will also be possible to see a machine that may look like an antique on the outside, but is in fact brand new. The Rimowa-Junkers F13 is a perfect, historically accurate replica of the first all metal German passenger aircraft made by Junkers. The prototype is currently undergoing flight testing in Switzerland. A limited number of F13s may possibly be manufactured in a small production run. In addition, it will be possible to see the newest model year versions of established aircraft such as those produced by Cirrus Aircraft, Diamond Aircraft, Piper, Tecnam, Beechcraft, Pipistrel and other manufacturers. In the case of Cessna, innovations to its planned single-engine turbine powered Denali will be announced.
As in the past, ultralights continue to be the area of general aviation that is experiencing the strongest demand. This is also where the spectrum of different aircraft on offer is at its broadest: gliders, powered aircraft and gyrocopters have been available in the ultralight category for some time. Now, in Germany they are being joined by ultralight helicopters for the first time. In late November 2016, the upper chamber of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, gave the green light for the introduction of a special ultralight helicopter category. Initial insights and information about the exact specifications of these helicopters and what the possible requirements for pilot training will look like will be provided by the Deutscher Aero Club (German Aero Club) and the Deutscher Ultraleichtflugverband e.V. (German Ultralight Aircraft Association). Several European manufacturers of ultralight helicopters, which are already permitted to operate in France and Italy, will also present their helicopters, as will German manufacturers.
The trend towards ultralight gyrocopters is also continuing. These will be on display at the AERO in every configuration imaginable: one and two-seaters, open and closed, in tandem and side-by-side configurations. New gyrocopter models will also be exhibited.
New ultralight aircraft ranging from forgiving trainers to racing aircraft that can reach speeds of 300 km/h will also be on show at Lake Constance. The German Ultralight Aircraft Association will also be generating a lot of talk at the show, thanks to its push to raise the weight limit for ultralights from the current limit of 472 to 600 kilograms.
The aircraft of the 120 kilogram class that will be on display in Friedrichshafen take a completely different approach: They are extremely light and are sparingly equipped with avionics, making them inexpensive to purchase and maintain. Anyone who is not interested in taking a trip to the doctor doesn’t even need a medical certificate to fly these one-seaters. These 120 kilogram aircraft are aimed at pilots who either want to "get back to their roots” through ultralight aviation or who just want to pursue their hobby in a way that is as simple and uncomplicated as possible.
A number of aircraft known as Light Sport Aircraft in the United States or that are certified by the EASA as Light Sport Aeroplanes, as the similar class is known in Europe, can also be seen at the AERO. These two-seaters with takeoff weights of up to 600 kilograms essentially are the link between ultralights and conventional single-engine piston driven aircraft.
Business Aviation will proudly be showing its colors at the AERO: Honda will be presenting a series production model of the Honda Jet, with its unconventional engine configuration, which has been approved for operation since late 2015. Cirrus Aircraft will provide information about series production of its single-engine Vision Jet, which was recently approved by the FAA. The first Vision Jet was delivered to a customer in December. They will be joined by established twin-engine models from Eclipse, Cessna and Embraer.
In the propeller category, visitors will be able to see turboprop single-engine models from European manufacturers like Pilatus, with the PC-12 NG, or Daher with its TBM 900/930. Their American competitors, like Cessna with the Caravan, Quest with the Kodiak and Piper with the M500/600 models will also be there. Twin-engine turboprops from American and European manufacturers will also be exhibited.
Gliders have been at the AERO since the very beginning back in 1977. They make it possible to economically begin training as a pilot. Every kind of glider will be represented at Lake Constance, ranging from one- and two-seaters to forgiving gliders for beginners and on up to the large super orchids. German manufacturers are particularly known as leaders in this field, but other mainly European companies will also be showing off their innovations. The variety of motor gliders on offer will also generate a lot of attention. Their propulsion systems are either conventionally located in the nose of the glider, or are retractable and aerodynamically mounted on the back of the rear fuselage. Two- and four-stroke engines, electric motors and even jets may be used. High performance motor gliders can even sport folding propellers.
The e-flight-expo is enjoying a noticeable tailwind at the AERO, as industry giants like Siemens and Airbus have recently gotten involved in the development of electrically powered aircraft. At the same time, in fall 2016 the maiden flight of the HY4, the first four-seater aircraft with a fuel cell drive and an electric motor, made headlines in Germany. This experimental aircraft will also be coming to the AERO. Whereas electric propulsion systems used to be found primarily in ultralights and motor gliders, now they are moving into the realm of conventional single-engine aircraft and are even making quiet aerobatic flight possible. The spectacular Volocopter from e-volo with 18 rotors, which is currently undergoing flight testing, will be also be on display in Friedrichshafen. A visible sign of the dynamic growth experienced by the e-flight-expo, now entering its ninth year, is its move from its previous location in the Foyer to hall A7, the e-flight Entrance East.
Visitors can experience the fastest growing field of aviation at the UAS Expo/AERODrones special show. New suppliers of so-called Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), that is of civilian drones and unmanned aircraft, will be showing off their new models and applications. The different requirements and expectations that users are placing upon our shared air space and the problems that these bring will also be discussed in the framework of the UAS Expo. Thus, for example, in Germany one result of these developments was the January decision by the federal cabinet to not only introduce a mandatory marking scheme for remote controlled drones, but to also introduce operator licensing requirements and to limit operational use depending on drone weight. Manned as well as unmanned aircraft from several different manufacturers, equipped with the most modern sensor and measurement technology, will be on display in Friedrichshafen. A drone race and an indoor airfield will also be part of the UAS Expo in 2017. Flight simulators are intended to appeal especially to younger visitors to the AERO.
The Engine Area will be making its sixth appearance at the AERO 2017. This is where innovative aircraft engines from the widest variety of manufacturers are presented, be they electric, turbine, or piston-driven models. In light of the development of new efficient motors for propeller aircraft that are fueled by either Jet A-1 or that can use unleaded gasoline in place of Avgas, a large number of new innovations are also expected in this area. The modern hybrid drives for single-engine propeller aircraft that were shown at the AERO 2016 for the first time are already well on their way to series production.
The newest special show is Avionics Avenue. Here it's all about on-board equipment for aircraft and helicopters related to piloting the aircraft, navigation, collision avoidance and flight planning. For many aircraft owners, the deadline to replace old radio systems is also approaching. The requirement that all radio devices in gliders, ultralights, helicopters and conventional fixed wing aircraft that have been approved for visual flight operations must be converted to 8.33 kHz channel spacing by the end of 2017 will generate significant revenue growth for avionics manufacturers and CAMOs this year. This is also where avionics manufacturers will be presenting their glass cockpit innovations. Visitors will be able to personally try out a large number of products, like headsets, in the Avionics Avenue.
Be a Pilot/AeroCareer
The Be a Pilot/AeroCareer campaign has been very popular in the last few years. This is where pilots, in fact anyone who is interested in training to be a pilot, can get to know one another, exchange views and get more information. The area is also intended for people interested in other careers in aviation, ranging from aircraft assembly worker to air traffic controller. Flight schools, professional associations, interest groups, aviation agencies and avionics employers will be exhibiting here and will be available to meet and talk with all interested visitors.
More than 100 presentations, conferences and workshops on current aviation topics will be take place during the AERO Conferences in Friedrichshafen. Experts from pilots’ associations, regulatory authorities and the manufacturers’ associations GAMA and LAMA as well as many general aviation groups will discuss and provide information about legal and political frameworks, the current state of aviation, and opportunities for improvement at the AERO Conferences. UAV Dach, the German association for unmanned aerial vehicles, will also present themselves here.
Flying to the AERO
As in the past, visitors to the AERO (April 5 - 8, 2017) who wish to fly themselves to the show will use an online-supported slot allocation system for the Bodensee Airport Friedrichshafen which is available at https://aero-ppr.bodensee-airport.eu. Starting at 9 a.m. (local time) on March 18, it will be possible to reserve PPR slots for a fee of 35 Euros, which will be counted towards payment of the package deal offered to visitors who fly themselves to the AERO (which includes landing and parking fees as well as a shuttle to the entrance of the AERO). Pilots who take off early and land at Friedrichshafen between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. local time using visual flight rules (VFR) do not need to reserve a slot. This provision also applies after the AERO closes for the day, from 7:20 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
An alternative landing opportunity for ultralights and motor gliders that does not require a slot assignment will again be available at the Markdorf Gliderport. Pilots of conventional aircraft who wish to spontaneously fly to the AERO may also use the nearby Leutkirch and Mengen airfields.
The AERO 2017 will begin on April 5 and last until April 8, 2017. More information is available at www.aero-expo.com.
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