5 Things to Look Forward to at 2024 Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo

Here’s a run down of some of the most popular activities at the upcoming spring break for pilots.

Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo will be held in Lakeland, Florida, April 9-14. [Credit: Stephen Yeates]

Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo—known as spring break for pilots—is just a few weeks away. This year, the annual event in Lakeland, Florida, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. If you plan on being part of the fun, there's a lot to do and see April 9-14.

Victory's Arsenal Theatre

It's not Sun ’n Fun without historic military warbirds on display. The aircraft played significant roles in multiple conflicts, such as World War II and the Korean War. You'll see a variety of transports, bombers, trainers, and pursuit aircraft, later known as fighters.

Beginning April 10, Victory’s Arsenal Theatre will present an aircraft each morning in front of the grandstands on the Sun ’n Fun warbird ramp. The pilot or owner of the aircraft will share  its story. The master of ceremonies will be Ron Kaplan, former executive director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Take a Warbird Ride

The Commemorative Air Force will once again be offering rides in select warbirds, such as the RC-45J Expediter, T-6 Texan, known as "the pilot maker," and P-51 Mustang. These once-in-a-lifetime flights are available for a price (it varies) and will certainly be the highlight of any aviation enthusiast's day.

Catch a Daily Airshow

It wouldn't be Sun ’n Fun without a daily airshow. Weather permitting, delight to the exploits of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, aerobatic pilots Michael Goulian and Patty Wagstaff, the Titan Aerobatic team, the Howard DGA-6 Mister Mulligan, and the Patriot Parachute Team. Check the daily schedule here for updates, and keep your eyes on the skies.

Hands-On Workshops

If you have ever thought of building your own aircraft or restoring one, check out the hands-on workshops. There will be demonstrations of a variety of skills, including composite construction, electrical installation and noise troubleshooting, fabric covering and metal shaping, woodworking, and welding.

Bring Your Kids

For children, there is the Junior ACEs program, which is a weeklong open house showcasing the year-round STEM programs available for those between the ages of 7 and 17. Explore different careers in aviation, fly a simulator, or learn about space. This year there are three locations for Junior ACEs: the Skylab Innovation Center, Buehler Restoration and Skills Center, and Junior ACEs tent located in the Future ’n Flight Plaza.

As if that's not enough, don't forget to wander through the exhibit hangars. If you can fly it, navigate with it, train with it, or use it to enhance your aviation experience in any way, shape, or form it, you'll likely find it there.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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