ICYMI: Top Stories from Florida’s Exciting Sun ’n Fun Airshow

A quick roundup of highlights surrounding one of America’s premier aviation events, Florida’s Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo.

Sun 'n Fun Aircraft on Static Display

The 2022 Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo runs from April 5 to 10 at the Lakeland Linder International Airport in central Florida. [Photo: Stephen Yeates]

Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo is back for 2022, offering exciting aircraft updates, education sessions and workshops as well as thrilling flight demonstrations and displays. 

Running from April 5 to 10 at Lakeland Linder International Airport (KLAL) in central Florida, FLYING is there, covering all the aviation news.

In case you’ve missed our coverage this week, here’s a quick roundup.

Members of the volunteer medical team include (left to right) Dr. Cuervo, Margo Wesley, Dr. Uzi Talli, and Dr. Jim Sechter. [Photo: Julie Boatman]

Sun ‘n Fun’s Hidden Gem

Each year the Sun ’n Fun organization solicits volunteers with medical training to staff an on-site emergency aid clinic. During the show, the clinic sees 60 to 80 patients each day, with injuries and illnesses ranging from heat stroke to heart attacks. There’s also an OB-GYN on the rotation just in case. 

Almost all the physicians and at least one of the nurses are pilots, including Margo Wesley, who enjoys patching up her fellow aviators: “We have fun looking after people.” 

Longtime Sun ’n Fun President Gets a Gala Send-off

Friends, colleagues, and the greater aviation family gathered to honor John “Lites” Leenhouts before his transition to retirement.

Kenai Aviation’s owner and director of operations, Joel Caldwell (third from left) receives his company's P2012 Traveller at Sun 'n Fun. [Courtesy: Tecnam]

Aircraft Updates

Kenai Aviation, an Alaska-based air transport company, took delivery of a P2012 Traveller from Tecnam at this year’s Sun ’n Fun. The nine-passenger, high-wing, turbocharged piston twin was developed with commuters in mind. Its modern amenities, comfort, and ergonomic design help the aircraft bring a high level of service to the communities that Kenai serves.

Textron (NYSE: TXT) chose Sun ’n Fun to show off the latest enhancements to the company’s Beechcraft, Cessna, and Bell Helicopter product lines.

Beechcraft has moved the Bonanza’s useful load up to 1,213 pounds, netting a 155-pound gross weight increase (in a standard configuration with six seats). 

Classic piston singles–the Beechcraft Baron and Cessna Skyhawk–will see updated interiors, including new detailing, plus USB and headset port options. The Beechcraft Baron G58 is still completing flight tests and is in experimental mode at the show. 

Daher Debuts Data-Driven, Efficient Power in TBM 960

Daher’s new TBM 960 debuted Tuesday at Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo after its journey over from Tarbes, France. [Photo: Eric Magnan, Daher]

With certification under the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in hand, Daher debuted the latest member of its single-engine turboprop family, the TBM 960.

The airplane proposes simplified operations, digital data streams for more thorough analysis—and a level-up in takeoff and climb power of up to 45 shp, according to the company.

Panel: ‘Single Most Threatening Issue’ to GA

During a sparsely attended Sun ’n Fun GA town hall, heads of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), issued a dire warning: Leaded fuel has left just about every sector of transportation except for general aviation’s piston fleet, so we must be prepared for its departure. There’s a tacit consensus that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will sunset the use of leaded fuel across the GA sector by 2030.

New Innovation and Education Opportunities

The Aerospace Center of Excellence (ACE) at KLAL fosters innovation and education through a number of programs and outreach. Latest among those programs is the Elevate Aerospace & Logistics Incubator opening in Hangar A on the grounds of Sun ’n Fun.

The coworking and collaboration space is set to open in June at the Sun ’n Fun grounds.

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