Sun 'n Fun 2014 Has Plenty of Both

A great start for the Lakeland airshow on a very special day.

Sun 'n Fun 2014 Opening Day

Sun 'n Fun 2014 Opening Day

** Sun 'n Fun 2014**

Sun 'n Fun president John "Lites" Leenhouts started the 2014 edition of Sun 'n Fun with a shocking announcement. Because Sun 'n Fun had been unable to reach an agreement with the FAA for air traffic control services, all air operations were suspended. He quickly followed up with, "April Fools'."

In all seriousness, the 40th edition of the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In is shaping up to be one of the best ever based on the size of the expected crowds at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport and the spectacularly gorgeous Florida weather forecast for this week.

Leenhouts said more than 200,000 visitors are expected for the weeklong show, which features around 500 vendors occupying the largest footprint the event has ever hosted. In addition, organizers are expecting around 11,000 total aircraft movements, with about 3,500 airplanes expected to be parked on the show grounds at any given time. Day One attendance, however, seemed slower than normal.

As expected, the Lakeland Airport and Sun 'n Fun will be footing the bill for extra air traffic controllers to staff the busy tower, as they did last year when the FAA billed Sun 'n Fun more than $200,000 for ATC services. The total cost could climb even higher with the forecast weather for central Florida calling for sunny skies, light winds, low humidity and comfortably warm temperatures. The airport has paid $280,000 so far for this year's event, but expects to get a refund once the show is over.

Another draw at this year's show is the triumphant return of the Blue Angels, who were sidelined for much of last year's airshow season by the government sequestration. The Blues will perform at Sun 'n Fun on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, while the afternoon shows each day feature a packed performance schedule. Saturday will also include a return of the popular night airshow and fireworks.

Lightspeed is also sponsoring a treasure hunt on the show grounds that gives participants the chance to win a new Zulu.2 headset. Visit the Lightspeed booth at Sun 'n Fun or the company's website for details.

For more information about what's happening at Sun 'n Fun 2014, check back at flyingmag.com each day of the show.

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