Sun 'n Fun Begins
Make sure you bring your sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat if you’re heading out to the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida, which opened its doors this morning under partly cloudy skies. The forecast calls for mostly clear weather and warm temperatures for the nearly weeklong event at the Lakeland Linder Airport. But despite favorable flying conditions it appears that the fuel prices and prior years’ weather issues have scared off some fly-in traffic. According to the locals, traffic at nearby airports has been lighter than usual and the flight line and campgrounds at the field so far are seeing fewer visitors than what they’ve had in previous years.
The slow start may also have something to do with all the talk of sequestration and tower closures. Lakeland Linder’s tower was on the list to be closed, but now that the tower will remain opened, at least for now, the only consequence of budget cuts for this show is the loss of the USAF Thunderbirds performance as the jet team’s entire 2013 schedule has been canceled. And while the Thunderbirds will be missed, the usual smorgasbord of exhibitors and activities will be present at the show. Nearly 500 exhibitors have set up their booths in hangars and under tents. A long list of forums and workshops are scheduled, and the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) and Redbird Flight Simulations is holding its Pilot Proficiency Project, where pilots can sign up for a free one-hour training session.
There are also workshops and educational activities for school-age kids as well as an aviation-themed Kid Zone for the smallest aviation enthusiasts.
The daily airshow features favorites such as Patty Wagstaff, the Aeroshell Team, Matt Younkin, and Chuck Aaron as well as many other talented performers. There will also be night airshows on Friday and Saturday night. Night performers include Manfred Radius, flying his elegant sailplane act, Eugene Nock in his Bell-47 Batcopter and for the first time at Sun ‘n Fun, Team Aerodynamix, a formation group of RVs formerly known as Team RV. And, as usual, the Friday edition of the night airshow will also include fireworks.