Tuesday, April 13, 2010 is Opening Day
The skies over Lakeland, Florida, will begin to receive thousands of aircraft that will convert Lakeland Linder Regional Airport into the busiest airport in North America this month.
Tuesday, April 13, is ???Opening Day? of Sun ???n Fun?۪s 36th annual gathering of the world of general aviation for its spring break for pilots and friends. The 2010 Sun ???n Fun International Fly-In & Expo will attract an estimated 150,000 to 170,000 visitors from North America and more than 80 other countries, distinguishing it as the largest convention in the state of Florida and the first major international aviation event of the year in the Americas.
The annual Sun ???n Fun International Fly-In & Expo is significant annual economic stimulus to the region?۪s tourism economy, producing an estimated $27-$31 million infusion into the greater Lakeland and the central Florida corridor.
The annual event, staged on an 850-acre footprint of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport campus, will engage all levels of aviation interests from student pilots, active ???veteran? pilots and ???homebuilders? (people who design, build and fly their own airplanes!) to armchair aviation enthusiasts and the curious who nurture the dream to fly, regardless of age. On the ground, one will encounter nearly every form of man?۪s achievement in the pursuit of flight over the past century, from the one-seat ultralight to a daunting C-17 military cargo jet.
The Sun ???n Fun core campus will feature a combination of aviation-oriented exterior tents and interior exhibits in five dedicated exhibit hangars. Among its 35 plus exhibitors, the newly commissioned Hangar Echo (E) will be the location for a Starbuck?۪s ???fuel stop? during the six-day event.
The week will provide face-to-face access to 475-plus exhibitors including the latest in aircraft avionics, membership organizations, fuselage cleaning agents, pilot supplies, and the manufacturers of airplanes including Piper, Cessna, Embraer and Remos to name a few. The expansive grass fields and hard surfaces of the airport will showcase a world-class concentration of vintage, warbird, homebuilt, factory built, rotorcraft, ultralight, light sport, hot air balloon, aerobatic and current military aircraft that add to the rich experience Sun ???n Fun guests embrace throughout the week. A partnership with nearby Fantasy of Flight will provide a home for Sun ???n Fun?۪s seaplane fly-in on Lake Agnes, highlighted by its annual ???Splash-In? on Thursday, April 15.
As most residents of Lakeland can testify, the skies southwest of the city are a constant changing matrix of airplanes from sunrise to sunset. A major daily feature of the show is the Sun ???n Fun Aerial Showcase, an opportunity for exhibiting aircraft manufacturers to ???showcase? their latest aircraft front and center above the Sun ???n Fun flight line.
Showcase Flying serves as the ???opening act? of the popular Sun ???n Fun daily airshow, which is known throughout the industry as one of the finest and largest displays of aerobatic talent in the country. Each daily air show features the world?۪s most recognized aerobatic performers. Sun ???n Fun?۪s ???start of the year? timing provides each performer with an opportune stage to present their unique, remarkable aerial maneuvers to fans, as well as to potential sponsors and ???talent scouts? from other air shows that take place later in the year.
This year Sun ???n Fun is privileged to present the United States Air Force (USAF) ???Thunderbirds? Jet Demonstration Team as the headliner finale of the weekend afternoon airshow. While the official ground and aerial precision performance of America?۪s Ambassadors in Blue is scheduled for the weekend, the team will arrive at Sun ???n Fun on the opening day of the show and are scheduled to command the skies in practice sessions at the conclusion of the Thursday and Friday airshows, offering audiences on both of those days with an added Sun ???n Fun memory to share with friends and family.
Another signature attraction of the annual Sun ???n Fun show is the early-morning ???dawn patrol? launch of its festive Hot Air Balloon ???Hare and Hound? Race on Saturday, April 17. Weather permitting, more than 25 balloonists are scheduled to ignite their burners, lift off above the shimmering morning landscape of Lakeland and create an exciting, colorful start to the day?۪s activities.
One?۪s stay at Sun ???n Fun will also be enriched with the opportunity for meet and greets and special appearances by a number of significant aviation personalities. Among those who have confirmed their appearances are Jeff Skiles, First Officer aboard US Airways Flight 1549, who, under the command of Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, assisted in the Miracle on the Hudson, safely landing the Airbus A320 on the Hudson River after losing both engines to multiple bird strikes during take off; FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, who will address several forums regarding the current state of aviation in this country as well as offering an overview of the state of general aviation; Congressman Sam Graves, representing the sixth District in Missouri and member of the House Committee on Transportation, who will moderate the Sun ???n Fun ???Town Hall? meeting in a discussion with the leaders of general aviation?۪s larger membership organizations.
This year Sun ???n Fun has issued official sponsorship status to Flight Level Aircraft Auctions, who will launch their ???Sellers Meet Buyers? airplane auction program during Sun ???n Fun. Flight Level will provide an opportunity to all interested Sun ???n Fun registered airplane owners to sign up for one of four early evening auctions that will be staged at an auction site in the southeast area of the SUN ?? FUN show campus. Auctions are scheduled between 5:30 and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday of the show. Details for all interested pilots and/or aircraft owners are on www.flightlevelauctions.com.
In keeping with Sun ???n Fun?۪s educational mission, one will encounter 10 forum tents with a daily schedule of presentations on aviation topics and interests; a separate area devoted to hands-on workshops for aviation enthusiasts who are dedicated to learning the art and skills of aircraft construction, maintenance and restoration; the campus of the prestigious Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA), a high school ???career academy? that operates throughout the year on the Sun ???n Fun campus; the Florida Air Museum ??? Florida?۪s ???official aviation museum and education center? ??? which features a week-long schedule of its own forums, authors corner and autograph area, museum exhibits and museum gift shop specials; plus a week-long schedule of exciting and engaging children?۪s programs and activities at the nearby Tom Davis Education Center.
This year Sun ???n Fun will bring its ???GreenSpace? exhibit, produced in partnership with the Lindbergh Foundation, to the core of the show campus. This initiative represents Sun ???n Fun?۪s commitment to provide evidence of the industry?۪s adoption of environmentally conscious practices in the manufacturing and operation of aircraft. This is consistent with The Lindbergh Foundation, whose mission is to further Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh?۪s shared vision of a balance between technological advancement and environmental preservation.
In a plan to reduce the volume of refuse associated with events of this magnitude, Sun ???n Fun will limit the sale of beverages by its authorized food service providers to refillable, recyclable souvenir cups and bottled water in biodegradable plastic bottles. In the spirit of advancing the pilot community?۪s well entrenched recycling practice, Sun ???n Fun?۪s popular consignment ???Parts Exchange? will be relocated to a more accessible location on the site, adjacent to the newly commissioned Hangar Echo (E) and the entrance to Sun ???n Fun?۪s expansive and popular campground.
Visitors to the 2010 Sun ???n Fun International Fly-In & Expo can look forward to a selection of quality, fairly priced snack and meal options during their visit. Food and beverage services will be available throughout the show campus with the greater selection menu items offered in the central food court area near the Indoor Exhibit Hangars. Sun ???n Fun?۪s Sunset Grill, which is rapidly becoming the place to ???hang out? after the air show, will offer a full menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Later in the day/early evening, Sunset Grill features a nightly schedule of popular live music acts throughout the week. A trip to Sun ???n Fun would not be complete without stopping at the traditional corn roast and music stage in Sun ???n Fun?۪s campground. Details about the music and activities within both the Sunset Grill and the Campground Stage will be posted on the Sun ???n Fun website.
The close of each day will be punctuated by a schedule of evening programs that will include:
?ۢ Monday evening with Sun ???n Fun?۪s Pre-Flight Night silent auction and dinner gala themed ???Women of Aviation? in the Florida Air Museum and Buehler Restoration Center;
?ۢ Tuesday evening is a stellar line up of panelists with a ???Women of the Air? theme in the Sun ???n Fun Pavilion;
?ۢ Wednesday?۪s Pavilion presentation will be the first-hand account of the ???Miracle on the Hudson? landing from US Airways First Officer Jeff Skiles;
?ۢ Thursday, AOPA President Craig Fuller will discuss the hottest aviation issues and other topics during his annual Sun ???n Fun presentation;
?ۢ Friday night all Sun ???n Fun guests are invited to fill the hours between the close of the afternoon airshow and the evening?۪s popular night airshow by joining the Aire Traffic Band, an acclaimed ensemble of FAA Air Traffic Controllers who are also excellent musicians.
?ۢ Saturday evening will be an insightful, entertaining evening focused on the theme ???Aviation in Hollywood? by a panel consisting of Susan Butler, resident of nearby Lake Wales, Florida, and author of East to the Dawn: The Story of Amelia Earhart, which served as the basis of the recent movie, Amelia, starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere. A Pilot?۪s Story producer Rico Sharqawi; and Nick Spark, producer of the documentary The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club. The evening will close with a screening of the Pancho Barnes documentary.
For details on the full schedule of events and activities throughout the six days of Sun ???n Fun go to www.sun-n-fun.org and click on the ???Fly In? tab for event schedules, Sun ???n Fun and FAA Forums, Sun ???n Fun workshops, Florida Air Museum speaker schedules and children?۪s programs, Sun ???n Fun daily air shows, Evening Programs at the Sun ???n Fun Pavilion and nightly Sunset Grill and Campground Stage entertainment.
Discounts for advanced weekly and daily tickets are now available online at??www.sun-n-fun.org. Special discounts are available to members of the Florida Air Museum and the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA), given in appreciation for historical involvement EAA had with the start of the event and to AOPA members on Friday, April 16, in recognition of AOPA Day. Special discounts are also available to active military personnel and residents of Florida. A special Thunderbirds weekend discount package is available to Florida residents, including free admission to children 12 years old or younger.
The entire Sun ???n Fun staff and valued extended family of Sun ???n Fun volunteers look forward to welcoming everyone to a week that is guaranteed to amaze every level of aviation interest. Join them for a unique opportunity to share knowledge, experiences and fellowship with aviation enthusiasts from around the world. Secure your ticket today, at www.sun-n-fun.org. Be part of the 2010 Sun ???n Fun International Fly-In & Expo, April 13-18, in Lakeland, Florida??_ aviation?۪s ???spring break for pilots & friends.?
About The Lindbergh Foundation
The Lindbergh Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, based in Anoka, Minnesota, which supports great innovations that foster the environment for a planet in balance. The Lindbergh Foundation also values individual initiative and accomplishments. Its programs are devoted to supporting, honoring, and educating individuals, through three major programs: the annual Lindbergh Award, presented to individuals for significant contributions toward balancing nature and scientific innovation in their work; the Lindbergh Grants program, which provides grants in amounts up to $10,580 (the cost of building the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927) for research or education projects that will make important contributions to the technology/environment balance; and a variety of educational events and publications centered on the balance theme.