As always, the focus is on light sport aircraft, as well as ultralights, gyroplanes, and powered parachutes. Exhibitors in 2018 include Aerotrek, Bristell, BushCat, Evektor, Jabiru, Just Aircraft, Magni, Paradise, Rans, Tecnam, Vans, Zenith, and more.
Admission to the show is free, and there are free shuttles to local hotels and free camping with showers available at the airport. Airport Director Chris Collins, who has organized the show since its inception, said he has always wanted the show to be a welcoming gateway to aviation.
“The first year we started, we had a small admission fee and we didn’t like that,” he said. “I’m not sure that it helped or hurt attendance, but it didn’t feel right. We [wanted] to get back to the old days of aviation being fun and affordable.”
Exhibitors are encouraged to give demonstration flights throughout the event. Collins said that over the years, the Midwest show’s partnership with light-sport-centric shows in Deland, Florida; Buckeye, Arizona; and Sebring, Florida, means potential buyers are introduced to a make and model or brand at Mount Vernon and may go on to purchase it at one of the other shows.
“That’s really exciting to be able to support the industry, and it took years for that to materialize,” Collins said.
Attendance has remained steady over the years, but interest in airport camping has grown, Collins said. “We have a beautiful airport with beautiful grounds and showers on the field, and people love camping and being around the airplanes for three days,” he said.