Just returned from spending several days in sunny … no hot …. Florida. Each day was in the high 80s with lots of humidity. I lived in the Tampa Bay area for almost 20 years but I was not prepared for the heat. I started attending SNF in the early 80’s. I have always enjoyed this particular fly in as it is the competitor to mega Oshkosh. Not nearly as big which makes it a very easy show to get around and see everything. Up until the price of avgas went through the roof … SNF was very well attended. But that has changed !
My biggest disappointment with this years show was lack of attendance. And this has been going on for several years. I read recently that the SNF Organization has retired over $2 million dollars in debt and now claims to be debt free. I spoke with the President of SNF … Lites …. who said the grounds are now being used outside of the convention. “We are booked for car shows, weddings, conventions, etc … bringing in revenue.” Smart move if you ask me.
The homebuilt parking area was at least 50 – 60% empty. The camping area seemed to be relatively busy. I was not on the streets nor in the auto parking area so not sure what the drive in traffic was.
I spent time in the exhibitors buildings and got mixed messages. Some claimed to be having a good show while others said they have to question whether they continue to come back. I hope the show continues and thrives … time will tell.
Learned something new this year …. if you go … you have to try camping in the homebuilt camping area. They have there own special food tent, entertainment area. I spoke to one pilot who has been camping in this area for 6 straight years and says there are days he never leaves. It has everything you could want including a great view of the daily airshow!