Greetings from Lakeland, Florida!
Mike-and-Jerry-and-B17_3194

Our week at the Sun’n Fun fly-in is over, and before Jerry and N46493 and I head back tomorrow morning (knock on wood), I thought I’d post a report and some pictures to the blog. In case you weren’t aware, you can click on any of the photographs to get a larger size version.

If you haven’t been to Sun’n Fun, it can be really overwhelming at first. The event covers a huge area – basically the entire south half of Lakeland Linder Airport (KLAL). There are permanent buildings, like the Florida Air Museum and Central Florida Academy of Aeronautics, which are used during Sun’n Fun, as well as dozens of large tents and hangars, and small buildings put up by organizations like EAA, the 99’s, and so on.

There are forums of all sorts, put on by Sun’n Fun itself, as well as by EAA and AOPA and the FAA. Jerry and I went to several by Ron Machado at the AOPA tent – if you haven’t heard him talk, look up his YouTube videos. They’re very funny, and very useful, full of tips on how to fly and do it safely.
AOPA-forum-RonMachado_2275

There are hands-on workshops on all sorts of topics from avionics to fabric covering to riveting – in the EAA tent they were building a Onex, and visitors were invited to drive a rivet or two to help the project along.
EAA-riveting-demo_1335

Most, if not all, of the General Aviation and Experimental manufacturers were there, showing off their latest products. This is the new SubSonex jet from Sonex, which gave flying demonstrations a few days.
SubSonex_3879

You could buy rides in a helicopter, or a biplane, or Ford Tri-Motor, or a B-17 bomber.
B17-AluminumOvercast_6713

Paradise City, on the south end of the fly-in, is reserved for ultralights and light sport aircraft. They fly off a grass strip all day, demonstrating the latest in kits and light sports. This is an Apollo gyroplane.
ApolloAutogyro_5958

Many people flew in, and the more interesting airplanes were parked in exhibition areas for classics and vintage craft, arranged by brand or age. This is a very rare Fairchild 71.
Fairchild71_3668

Every day there’s an airshow from 2:00 to 5:30. The show often starts with warbird fly-by’s. This is a B-25 Mitchell bomber.
B25-WedsAirshow_2787

An F4U Corsair – remember “Baa Baa Black Sheep”?
F4U_3788

A P-51 Mustang – Lee Lauderback’s “Crazy Horse 2”.
LeeLauderback-P51-WedsAirshow_2647

Another P-51 and a P-40 Warhawk.
P51-P40-WedsAirshow_2869

A pair of T-34 Mentor trainers
T34_1545

The Warbirds class is not just WWII airplanes. Jet aircraft are appearing at shows, as well. This is an F-86 Saber, Korean War vintage, flown by Doug Matthews.
DougMattews-F86-WedsAirshow_3065

A T-33 jet, the trainer variant of the F-80 Shooting Star, flown by Greg Colyer.
GregColyer-T33-WedsAirshow_2431

There were many top-named aerobatic performers doing solo acts. Here, Greg Koontz demonstrates the capability of the Super Decathlon – a variant of the club’s Citabria. Kids, don’t try this at East Hill…
GeneKoontz-SuperDecathlon_5066

Jim Peitz performed his routine in a Beechcraft Bonanza.
JimPeitz-Bonanza_5349

Jerry “Jive” Kirby in an RV-8:
JiveKirby-RV8_2343

Kyle Franklin’s custom Demon 1 biplane, “Dracula”.KyleFranklin-Dracula_4543

Matt Younkin in a twin-engine Beech 19.
MattYounkin-Beech18-WedsAirshow_2719

Patty Wagstaff cut a ribbon over the runway, upside down
PattyWagstaff-Extra330_5437

Rob Holland’s MXS airplane has so much power, he can pull up vertically, and then hang on the prop, remaining motionless.
RobHolland-MXS_5059

RobHolland-MXS-TuesAirshow_2221

Skip Stewart in his modified Pitts biplane, “Prometheus”
SkipStewart-Prometheus-TuesAirshow_2001

Then there are the precision flying teams.

The Breitling Jet Team was at Sun’n Fun to kick off their first American tour. They fly L-39 Albatross jets, and they’re incredibly smooth in their routines.
BreitlingJets-L39-TuesAirshow_1683

Rob Holland, Matt Chapman and Bill Stein flew formations as the 4CE team (pronounced “Fource”). That’s an MXS, CAP580 and an Edge 540.
4CE-RobHollandMXS-MattChapmanCap580-BillSteinEdge540_3821

In a great display of formation aerobatics between wildly different airplanes, Gary Rower and Buck Roetman performed in a Stearman and a Pitts.
GaryRower-SuperStearman-BuckRoetman-Pitts_4026

The GEICO Skytypers fly SNJ-2 Navy trainers from the Second World War – and very well, indeed.
Skytypers-SNJ2_4354

Finally, the ultimate in precision formation teams, the Air Force Thunderbirds in their F-16 jets:
Thunderbirds_5660

The Mirror Pass, cockpit to cockpit…
Thunderbirds_6510

… and the other way up, just for variety…
Thunderbirds_6658

Two of the days, Wednesday and Saturday, ended with evening airshows. The evening shows started at dusk with the Aeroshell team in their AT-6 trainers, equipped with LED lights and smoke:
Aeroshell-AT6-WedsEveAirshow_3299

Dan Buchanan carried an incredible amount of pyrotechnics on his powered hang glider.
DanBuchanan-powered-hangglider_7157

I think the most beautiful performance was Manfred Radius, who flew his sailplane with pyrotechnics on the wingtips. Silent flight to the sound of classical music…
ManfredRadius-SaltoH101_6992

By far the most spectacular performance was by Gene Soucy, flying his Grumman Ag Cat:
GeneSoucy-AgCat_7060
GeneSoucy-AgCat_7074

Watch this space tomorrow (I hope), as we resume the flight…
{-Back to Day 6: Texarkana to Clearwater | Ahead to Day 7 Clearwater to North Carolina -}

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “By Skyhawk to Florida – Sun’n Fun

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s