Aviation’s Spring Break: It’s Sun ’n Fun to the Rescue | Aviation

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As a major milestone along the march of aviation’s year, central Florida’s Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo  in Lakeland, Florida, gives cold-weary northerners a much-needed boost from the leftover winter. 

It’s not that we can’t fly during the short, colder days. It’s just not worth the bother in the frozen states. Bundling up for the trek to the hangar, arranging for some engine heat, wondering if the battery is up to the start, chipping leftover snowplow detritus from the rollout path—naw, too much trouble, wait for a better day.

Floridians, meanwhile, fire up in their shirtsleeves and fly right on through winter. It was 50 years ago that folks in some enterprising EAA chapters thought up the idea of inviting their pale, pasty northern friends down to the lake country in Florida for an end-of-winter get-together. Quickly dubbed, the fly-in/airshow took off like, well, spring break with airplanes. This year’s event runs Tuesday, April 9, through Sunday, April 14.

The site at Lakeland Linder International Airport (KLAL) couldn’t be a better choice. Nicely situated between the airspaces of the tourist mecca of Orlando and the Gulf Coast’s Tampa-St. Petersburg area, the venerable World War II facility, then called Drane Field, has adequate space and easy highway access from Interstate Highway 4’s corridor. 

Sport and experimental aircraft devotees flock in to mingle with all classes of flight, from balloons to ultralights, antiques to vintage, aerobatic to warbirds, and rotorcraft to seaplanes—you can find it all at Sun ’n Fun.

As with the midsummer extravaganza, EAA AirVenture, in Wisconsin, vendors soon latched on to the Sun ’n Fun explosion, and it became a showplace for products unveiled after winter gestation, with display hangars and booths galore. It’s a great place to shop for the latest innovations, or perhaps a fly-market find.

Daily (and sometimes nightly) airshows, constant flybys, lots of food choices, an…

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