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Old 01-27-2012, 12:17 PM
KatieB's Avatar
KatieB KatieB is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Belton, MO
Posts: 1,124
Exclamation Sebring Expo Traffic Safety

I've read a lot of happy-happy joy-joy reports on the Sebring LSA Expo in the past couple of days. This one really torqued me the wrong way, but explained a lot:

I've flown into Oshkosh three times, Sun 'n Fun three times, and many smaller LSA shows too many times to count for work. Two years ago I spent Friday and Saturday giving demo flights at Sebring from the time the gates opened til after they closed with no major problems; it was actually quite fun. But the 2012 Sebring Expo was by far the most dangerous fly-in event I have ever attended. Many of the controllers were obviously not experienced in an airshow environment. As mentioned in the article above, they "honed their airshow skills" there, but there was just too much traffic for that kind of inexperience.

My worst encounter was being told by Ground to turn northbound onto the taxiway that doubled as a parallel runway for LSA traffic. I looked first, noting the LSA on short final coming straight at me, before telling him "Unable, traffic short final." I don't know about you, but that counts in my book as "a hitch." About 5 minutes later, as I held short of 18, somebody took off going the wrong way on 36 when multiple aircraft were on base and final for 18. Those were just two of the many incursions and near-misses we witnessed. Many of them were due to pilots not knowing the flight procedures or flying sloppy patterns in both the demo flight pattern and the arrival procedure. After surviving a few demo flights, all we could do was stand there and watch the chaos from the booth. From our point of view, it was a miracle nobody died.

So, with all these happy articles coming out about how great the show was, you might decide to fly in there next year. If you do, READ THE NOTAM!! Read the arrival procedures, memorize them, and keep a lookout for traffic at ALL times in ALL directions. DO NOT follow controllers blindly; look for yourself! Remember what Mr. Martin said in the article: Sebring is an ATC TRAINING EVENT. Have an escape plan to exit the pattern if necessary. Brush up on your slow flight skills, because you WILL need them when you get behind the slower LSAs. I know this is basic knowledge for all fly-in arrivals, but I've never found it to be so critical as it was for this show. My past OSH and SNF arrivals were cakewalks compared to last weekend. I'm happy the controllers got their "adrenalin rush," they should've seen the view from the cockpit!

For the record, I did send an email to the Expo organizers. Haven't heard back yet.
Katie Bosman
EAA Homebuilt Advisory Council
Rebuilt most of SNF tornado victim RV-3B Tony Boy II (had to sell him, but he's flying!)
RV-9 93281 tail kit has arrived... here I go again!
VAF Dues Paid 2021!
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:46 PM
MarkW's Avatar
MarkW MarkW is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Edgewater, FL. KSFB
Posts: 1,145
Default Sebring

I flew in Friday morning just before the tower opened and parked on the West ramp. I followed a couple of planes in from Lake Jackson. Traffic was light.
I left Friday about noon and the controller was busy but handled the flow well. I recognized him from Orlando Executive as one of the seasoned controllers.
Just my experience.
RV9 - N14MW - Flying
G3X - ECI Titan I0-320
Catto three blade prop
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Old 01-27-2012, 05:15 PM
roadrunner20's Avatar
roadrunner20 roadrunner20 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Bay Pines, FL, building in Andrews, NC (new base @ KRHP)
Posts: 1,957

I flew in Saturday morning ~1030.
I did read the NOTAM and had a copy beside me on my iPad.
But, it was obviously when I was monitoring freq 20 miles out, many had not done so. The holding pattern was in place and several inbound were calling approach without a clue in what was going on. The controller seemed to be handling the holding traffic well.
By the time I arrived, the hold had been terminated. Although, I was downwind #3, #2 decided to turn base because #1 was flying an extended downwind for some unknown reason. I extended as well as I felt it was better having that traffic in front of me. No one was behind me at the time. The controller should have directed #1 to turn base.

Meanwhile, on the ground, I was talking to Carl from ZPH, his friend, had a very close encounter with several aircraft just prior to my arrival.

As stated earlier, READ THE NOTAMS!
Danny "RoadRunner" Landry
Morphed RV7(formally 7A), N20DL, PnP Pilot
1200+ hours

Last edited by roadrunner20 : 01-27-2012 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:12 PM
rv9aviator rv9aviator is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 1,505

It happens at OSH too. I was instructed to exit the runway ASAP after touchdown because an older gentleman was landing from the wrong direction right towards me. I would hate to have the controllers job at times like that.
Jim Wright
RV-9A N9JW 90919 SoldArkansas
"It's a brutal struggle for the biscuit."
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