Great planes: Air expo comes to Flying Cloud Airport

Nine planes were on display at the Great Planes Air Expo in Eden Prairie. (Sun Current staff photo by Sean Miner)
Approximately 50 people attended a small plane expo at Premier Jet Center, part of Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie. Presented by KCAC Aviation, the event was designed to get potential small plane customers up close and personal with their prospective purchases.

“The primary thing that we do with the expo is try and bring those aircraft out and get them closer to our customers,” said Mike Turner, director of marketing at KCAC. “Our customers don’t necessarily have the time to get away to the major trade shows, which happen just a few times a year.”

Turner said that each of the nine aircraft on display at the Aug. 31 expo is designed to appeal most to businesspeople who need to travel to multiple locations often. Owning and maintaining a plane for that purpose is certainly an investment, but according to Turner, it can be well worth it in the long run, and comes with certain benefits compared to major airline travel.

“People who have a business who need to travel to multiple locations can do it much more efficiently with a corporate airplane like we sell than they can with the major airlines,” said Turner. “There are roughly 5,000 airports in the United States and less than 500 of them have actual airline service. Having an airplane like this gives them the ability to get much closer to their final destinations.”

The planes on display had room for between four and 10 passengers. Turner also noted that corporate plane ownership provided a recruiting advantage for companies.

“It’s really about being able to have a more efficient method of travel, but can also be an advantage from a hiring and recruitment standpoint,” said Turner. “[It helps] your ability to be able to get your own employees out to meetings, but they can also get home in time for dinner with their families.

“We often refer to it as time travel,” continued Turner. “It’s way more efficient than driving or flying on the airlines, and even if you get in on the airlines, you still have to Uber or taxi or rent a car to get out there, and you still could be a couple of hours away.”

The nine aircraft filled out the hangar at Premier Jet Center as potential customers examined the planes, inside and out. The same set of aircraft will soon be on display in another state, said Turner.

“The real intent is to make it easier for customers to come out and see the airplanes — to bring [the planes] closer to the actual customers,” said Turner.