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Hal and Sandy Shevers hang it up

The founders of the iconic Sporty’s Pilot Shop retire

After more than 60 years of growing their business from humble beginnings to one of the biggest general aviation mail-order companies in the United States, Hal and Sandy Shevers decided to retire.

Photo by Chris Rose.
Hal Shevers taught one of the first Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics.

AOPA’s partnership with Sporty’s Pilot Shop and the Shevers family dates to 1963, when Shevers taught a three-day ground school for what was then the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. It has been growing steadily since, with the company supporting AOPA Fly-Ins , sponsoring Rusty Pilots seminars and Air Safety Institute educational videos, and becoming a supporting sponsor in 2012.

Shevers Enterprises began by selling pilot supplies out of the trunk of a car. It evolved into the Sportsman’s Market, and was dubbed Sporty’s by its customers—and the name stuck. Located at the Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio, Sporty’s isn’t simply a purveyor of GA accessories, but develops multiple training programs for Sporty’s Academy, a flight school it runs, and established an aviation community, Sandy’s Airpark.

A statement to Sporty’s employees noted that “Hal transformed Clermont County Airport into a premier general aviation hub by enhancing facilities, attracting top companies to the airport, creating a renowned flight school, and establishing a partnership with the University of Cincinnati for a top-tier flight training program.”

This marks the final step in what has been a transition into retirement for a while now, with the Sheverses spending more and more time in Sarasota, Florida. Sporty’s Pilot Shop will remain under the leadership of the people who have have guided it through the past several years. Longtime employees, among them current Chairman and CEO Michael Wolf and President John Zimmerman, who have been with Sporty’s 52 and 25 years, respectively, are part of the team heading the company. “We’ll be right here, doing what we’ve always done, nothing much will change,” Zimmerman emphasized during a telephone call.

“Hal and his team at Sporty’s have been a great partner of AOPA in our shared mission to promote and build general aviation,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We wish Hal and Sandy a wonderful next chapter.”

Hal and Sandy Shevers at AOPA Expo in 2005. Photo by Bob Sargent.

Sylvia Schneider Horne

Digital Media Editor
Sylvia Schneider Horne is a digital media editor for AOPA's eMedia division.
Topics: Airport, People

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