Aircraft Bidder Auctions AOPA Extra 300

Who’s Going to Be a New Extra Owner?

― By:  Phil Lightstone


Aircraft Bidder (.com) was founded in 2020 with the goal of creating an ‘eBay” style of on-line auctions focusing on aircraft.  To date, Aircraft Bidder has sold 84 aircraft using their website.  Currently there are 20 aircraft up for auction on their website.

Buyers must register for each aircraft and provide a deposit, which varies depending upon the value of the aircraft.  For example, a USD $2.5 Million aircraft would require a bidder’s deposit of USD $20,000.  This helps Aircraft Bidder ensure that the bidder will close the transaction if they are the winning bid.  Bidders are able to view the aircraft, logbooks and other documentation, typically up to 30 to 45 days before the auction.  Successful bidders are required to close the transaction within 72 hours.

At the AOPA booth at SUN ‘n FUN, an Extra 300L was on display, which is in the auction.  The Extra 300L is a two-seat, low-wing, aerobatic airplane powered by a fuel-injected Lycoming AEIO-540 engine, producing 300 horsepower.  The auction closes Friday March 31, 2023, at 1:00 pm EST. The current bid is at USD $241,000 (as of this March 28th in the evening).  A 5.00 % Buyer’s Premium will be applied to the final price.  Bidders are required to wire a USD $5,000 deposit to Aircraft Bidder before registration will be finalized.

(Photo: Phil Lightstone)

National Association of Flight Instructors Plans Educational Sessions at SUN ‘n FUN

― By: NAFI 


Hundreds of members and guests of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) are planning to visit the association’s activities here March 28 to April 2 at Lakeland Linder International Airport for the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo, Florida’s largest convention.

NAFI’s formidable presence will highlight its planned flight instruction safety and business summit scheduled from Oct. 24 to 26. NAFI’s inaugural summit in the fall will also be held on the SUN ‘n FUN campus. Attendees at the SUN ‘n FUN this month can also register for the fall summit online below and at NAFI’s booth at the fly-in and airshow. NAFI’s exhibit will be in Hangar A, Booth 077.

The booth is staffed by NAFI volunteer board members, including Chair Karen Kalishek, Secretary JD Debosky, Chair Emeritus Robert Meder and Board Member Victor Vogel. They will be in Lakeland throughout the event to showcase NAFI’s programs, benefits, and networking opportunities. In addition, existing members and new members can renew or join NAFI at a discounted rate during the show.

Register at NAFI Summit 2023 | Become a Better CFI  for NAFI Summit: Flight Instruction Excellence, to be held October 24-26 at the SUN ’n FUN Museum at Lakeland Linder International Airport (KLAL). The summit will host current and prospective certificated flight instructors, leaders in aviation, industry advocates, government representatives, and media. Early bird rates are in effect until July 1: $250 for NAFI members, $310 for non-members. NAFI and SAFE Master Instructor rates are $199.

(Photo: Phil Lightstone)

Method Seven Announces New Sunglasses and Discounts

Method Seven Eye Wear Comes to Canada

― By: Phil Lightstone

Method Seven of Santa Cruz CA, manufacturers of aviation grade sunglasses introduced their new FLT (Flight) sunglasses.  With the same frames as their popular Ascent SKY, FLT18 sports new polycarbonate lenses, making the sunglasses 10 grams lighter.  For open cockpit and aerobatics pilots, the reduction in weight provides clear benefits allowing the movement of the pilot’s head to be unencumbered, especially during high G manoeuvres.

Jamie Mitchell, Brand Manager, reports “a common question at the aviation events, was about additional discount.  New to SUN ‘n FUN, we’re offering in the booth only, a 20 percent discount for each sunglass, 25 percent if you buy two and 30 percent if you buy two or more.  This is perfect for pilots who come into the booth with their flying buddies or significant other.”  Their sunglasses cost USD $235 with the clip on sunglasses at USD $55. Recently, Aircraft Spruce was added as a distributor, allowing Canadians to order Method Seven sunglasses directly from Aircraft Spruce Canada.

(Photo: Method Seven)

Day One at SUN ’n FUN

New Innovations Announced at SUN ‘n FUN

 By Phil Lightstone
SUN ’n FUN 2023 opened to severe clear weather with outside air temps in the 30C’s.  While the aviation event, coined “Spring Break for Aviators” was cancelled during 2020 due to the pandemic, aviators and aviation enthusiasts flocked to Lakeland FL to take part in the aviation Expo.  With over 250,000 attendees, 2,500 volunteers, approaching 600 exhibitors, 389 educational forms, 32 presentations and 6,000 aircraft operations, it seems like the pandemic is thankfully in the rear-view mirror.

 Air Venture and SUN ‘n FUN are great venues to see the latest in aviation technologies but a perfect opportunity to purchase that must have aviator gadget, aircraft component, event souvenirs or a new aircraft.  Some cool new aviation tech announcements made at SUN ‘n FUN include: Bose A30 headset replacing the A20 (now 13 years old), featuring improved ANR, new digital electronics with three modes of noise cancellation, a new centre of gravity yielding a more stable fit, slightly better battery life (than the A2) and a five year warranty; CubCrafter’s new Carbon Cub equipped with Rotax’s newest 916 IS/C 160 HP engine with expected deliveries of orders placed today in  Q1 2025; and AeroPup’s new kit plane starting at USD $15,000 with an expected completion cost of USD $50,000 featuring a 1,600 lb gross weight and 130 kt cruise speed.

The Guest Experience is SUN ‘n FUN’s number one objective for 2023.  Eric Washburn, a SUN ‘n FUN Board of Director reports that the organization invested over USD $300,000 in IT infrastructure improvements, including the installation of over 30,000 feet of new fiber optic cable.  Powered by 10 Gbps internet pipes, the infrastructure was built to support in excess of 25,000 concurrent users, per sector (the site was divided into many sectors – think ATC sectors to provide optimization of Internet resources).

Mark your calendars for SUN ‘n FUN’s 50th event being held from April 9 to 14 2024.

(Photo: Phil Lightstone)

Pre Order uAvionix External Magnetometer

To improve heading accuracy and consistency for your uAvionix AV-30-C add an AV-Mag. AV-Mag external magnetometer is a 3-axis electronic compass. AV-Mag precisely measures the earth’s magnetic field and aids the AV-30 directional heading measurement, improving long-term accuracy and consistency.  The AV-MAG-STC for certified aircraft is currently on pre order with orders expected to ship in the spring of 2023.  Current pre order pricing is USD $299 for the AV-MAG (certified).

(Photo: uAvionix)

Repair Parts Running Out for GNS 430/530

― By Phil Lightstone

On March 14, 2023, Garmin released Service Advisory 23018 Rev A (service advisory) advising that repair services for Garmin GNC 420/400/500/530/430 both WAAS and Non-WAAS will be limited due to component availability limitations starting in 2024.

Garmin reports: “Due to multiple component availability limitations, comprehensive repair service for the Garmin GNS 430(W)/530(W) series is expected to become limited in the years ahead.  Initially, these limitations are estimated to impact a small percentage of repairs beginning in 2024. First introduced in 1998, Garmin has offered repair service for the GNS 430/530 series for 25 years. Garmin plans to continue offering repair service when the components required for a specific repair remain available. Database updates and technical support will also remain available.”

Garmin advises that customers should begin thinking about an upgrade. Garmin reports: “We encourage GNS 430(W)/530(W) series owners to begin considering their transition strategy to newer generation products.”  Consider contacting a Garmin Authorized Dealer for pricing inclusive of installation labour costs.

(Photo:  Phil Lightstone)

Pickering Airport in Durham Region’s Development Plan

―By Mark Brooks

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) will be getting a new airport. The Region of Durham, located just to the east of Toronto, has released its new draft plan on how and where it plans to grow. The Plan includes a multi-modal employment hub based around a new airport in north Pickering. The new airport and an associated advanced employment zone will utilize 9,600 acres of federally owned land set aside for an airport in the 1970s. As suggested by a recent Transport Canada study, the new airport is expected to open initially as a utility, general aviation and specialty passenger airport. Over time it is expected to grow into the GTA’s second busiest airport handling both regional and international flights.

Volunteers from the Buttonville Flying Club (COPA flight 44) have been advocating for the new airport for more than a decade. On March 7, 2023, a club member led a delegation to the Durham region council, empathizing the important role of the new airport in adding badly needed new capacity. The airport will support the growth of advanced industries as well as enable the adoption of new net zero emissions aviation fuels and technology.  The new hub will help offset the critical shortage of industrial land around Pearson airport, which according to the Toronto Board of Trade, now has the lowest vacancy rate in North America (0.5 percent).

A club volunteer also led a delegation to the City of Pickering council meeting on February 27, 2023, in response to two council members who purposed a motion opposing the airport. Debate on that motion continued March 8 and will conclude on April 24.  Regardless of the outcome of that debate, the regional plan is expected to be submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for approval. It will then be up to the federal government to initiate the airport RFP process.

On February 27, the CEO of Hitachi Canada, Mr. Howard Shearer, spoke to the Pickering city council about a willingness to invest more than one Billion dollars into the new transportation hub including the airport and a High Frequency Rail stop.

For more information on the efforts of the Buttonville Flying Club volunteers you can check out their website setup specifically on this issue at

(Photo: Mark Brooks)

SUN’ n FUN 101 – The Basics

Sun ‘N Fun is less than one week away – some basics to consider.

―By Phil Lightstone

The Sun ‘N Fun Aerospace Expo ( is just around the corner (March 28 to April 2).  For those readers who haven’t experienced SUN ‘n FUN, think of it as spring break for aviators.  Located at the Lakeland Linder International Airport, (KLAL), the event can be thought of as a mini Air Venture.  You’ll see and experience the same things at SUN ‘n FUN but without the hustle and bustle of 650,000 attendees.

Flying into Lakeland is a breeze. Checkout the NOTAM located at   There are lots of other airports in the vicinity of Lakeland, such as Kissimmee (KISM), Orlando (KMCO), Winter Haven (KGIF) and Bartow (KBOW).  Fuel and parking tend to be discounted during the week of SUN ‘n FUN, but always a good idea to call and confirm.  Even better, call the FBO and arrange for parking, aircrew rates at nearby hotels and rental cars.

Getting down to central Florida may entail a multi-day, many hop long cross country.  If you’re coming from Western Canada, that can also involve a few overnights (unless you’re blessed with your very own Very Light Jet).  On long cross county flights, when you’re going to be away from your home airport for an extended period of time, consider taking a few of the basics:  tie down ropes and anchors; canopy cover; extra oil; extra spark plugs; smart device charging adapters and cables; supplemental oxygen and cannulas; soft sided thermos for cold water bottles; and chocks.

During the show, you can expect moderate line ups, but purchasing your admission tickets on-line can help reduce the wait.  General admission tickets pricing are: USD $45 daily; $170 for the week; youth (11-17) $20; youth weekly $70; children 10 and under are free; Florida residents enjoy discounted admission pricing; and parking is $10 per day or $40 for the week.  Aircraft camping is $280 for the week which includes one admission ticket ($420 for two admission tickets).  While the airport is blanketed with Wi-Fi hot spots and cellular services, it’s a good idea to have US cash with you for use at the concession stands, flee market, and exhibitor hangers.  After all, SUN ’n FUN is a great opportunity to purchase aviation supplies at discounted prices.  For Canadians, you can save the shipping, taxes, duties and brokerage costs (up to your maximum Customs limit).  Don’t forget to setup a roaming plan on your Canadian smartphone.

Like any vacation to the sun, a few things to bring may include: sunscreen; knapsack; towels (there’s a lot of sweating); rain jacket; good walking shoes; extra socks; insect repellent; collapsible chair; and camera.  PRO TIP: during the show, change your socks in the midafternoon.  It’ll make you feel like you’re walking on a cloud.

On a personal note, I have found getting around Lakeland pretty easy.  In years past, ride sharing services like Uber and Lift were fast and efficient to get you from your hotel to SUN ’n FUN.  There is something to be said about avoiding the parking congestion and getting lost on the roads.  Rental cars costs appear to be roughly CAD $100 per day from companies like Enterprise, however rates will vary based upon rental companies and location of pickup.  There is still a lot of accommodation available, but as time goes on, you may have to stay further from Lakeland.  Don’t forget about COPA’s discount programs for hotel and car rentals.

Night life at SUN ’n FUN adds another dimension to your spring break.  The night air show, vendor meet and greet events, camping with your buddies, dinners out with fellow aviators, and don’t forget pool time.  Flying into congested airspace requires an extra level of alertness not only keeping your head on a swivel but your ears wide open.  Flying with a defensive posture, will help you avoid another pilot, whose level of airmanship leaves something to be desired.

(Photo: Phil Lightstone)

COPA Board of Directors Strategic Planning Meeting


This past weekend, the COPA Board of Directors met in Montreal, Quebec for a two-day in-person meeting.
The Directors discussed strategic planning for the organization, reviewed the feedback received in the 2023 COPA Member Survey and much more. Outcomes from this meeting will be shared as they become available.
We thank members who have already completed the 2023 COPA Member Survey and encourage all of our members to participate. You can complete the 2023 COPA Member Survey  here.