AeroSport branches out to warmer climate
By Daniela Knoll
My husband, Jeremy Knoll, and I are owners of AeroSport. We based our business at Galt Airport (10C) nearly 6 years ago and are also EAA Chapter 932 Members. I also enjoy being the Chapter’s Young Eagles Coordinator. AeroSport is the U.S. Distributor of the BushCat Light Sport Aircraft, which is manufactured by a company named SkyReach out of South Africa. We are often asked how we became associated with a South African manufacturer and into this type of business. Well, we have EAA AirVenture 2012 to thank!
Jeremy and his father took the traditional trip up to Oshkosh that year. Jeremy’s father, Bob Knoll, owns property 2 miles North of Galt Airport and has two grass runways where the two often flew a small two seater Merlin GT out of for several years. After deciding to sell the Merlin GT, it was time for something new so they took the day to look around at the EAA AirVenture Grounds. Next thing we knew, we were owners of a South African Light Sport Aircraft.
Both of us had other careers at the time but were approached by the aircraft distributor at the time to represent them as a Dealer. We thought it would be a great hobby business, so why not? Our performance really impressed the manufacturer and were eventually offered to take over the entire U.S. Distributorship shortly thereafter. Jeremy got certified as a Light Sport Repairman (the A&P version of Light Sport Aircraft) and also certified to work on Rotax engines, a popular option for many light sport manufacturers. This opened up doors to also be able to provide maintenance for light sport aircraft and our business began to grow.
Teaming up with JB Aviation at Galt Airport, JB was willing to allow AeroSport to use our light sport aircraft for flight training. A small growing part of the industry to achieving the dream of flight is the opportunity for people to get a Sport Pilot License at half the cost and half the time as a regular Private Pilot License.
We travel to all the major airshows and exhibit with the BushCat. AirVenture in Oshkosh, Sun N’ Fun in Lakeland, FL, as well as more specialized events like the Midwest LSA Expo in Mt Vernon, IL and the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase in DeLand, FL are common events we take advantage of. DeLand, Florida seems to be a growing location for the sport aviation industry. Having a townhome in Daytona Beach, DeLand has become a bit of a home away from home for us. We recently had the opportunity to purchase a 7,000 square foot hangar in order to grow our business South! And so, AeroSport South was created. Being at the DeLand Regional Airport (KDED) opens up a lot more doors for us. We are able to have a full flight training facility that not only offers training for Sport Pilot, but also for Private Pilot, Commercial and soon to come Instrument training at half the cost of many area flight schools. Due to the fact that our Light Sport Aircraft have very low operating and maintenance costs, it is actually very profitable to run a flight school with these aircraft. The light sport aircraft in our fleet have equipment that is considered a TAA (technically advanced aircraft), so although according the FAA they fall into the light sport category, training for all sorts of license levels are possible in these aircraft. We are therefore able to have lower rental costs than many area flight schools making it an affordable option to earn your dream of flight.
Check out our AeroSport South promo video here:
We have been lucky to have gained Troy Scholte, A&P/IA, for our AeroSport South location. Troy and his wife Ali have decided to move to Florida from Cary, IL, which will allow Troy to run the maintenance department of our AeroSport South facility. This allows us to offer full-service maintenance, not only for light sport aircraft, but also general aviation aircraft in DeLand, FL. We will be providing temporary hangar rental spaces as well as some in and out services for longer term space rentals.
For anyone that is in the Florida area, please don’t hesitate to stop in and say hello. We offer check-outs in the BushCat, so if you are in Florida on vacation and feel like taking a joy flight along the Florida coast, you know where to come! For more information, please visit our website or give us a call at (888) 444-1970.