Behind the scenes at SUN ’n FUN

2014_DAHER-SOCATA Team at S'N'FUN (Large)

SUN ‘n FUN was fantastic this year. If you didn’t make it to Lakeland, Florida, at the start of the month, be sure to put it on your 2015 calendar: April 21-26, 2015.

We produce SUN ‘n FUN Today, the daily newspaper for the fly-in, so my view of SUN ’n FUN is slightly different.

As I look back through my notebook, I now understand why I’m so tired. The following will give you a peak into what it takes to cover a fly-in like SUN ‘n FUN or AirVenture.

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Banner year for SUN ’n FUN

“Pick your cliche,” said John “Lites” Lennhouts, as the president of SUN ‘n FUN kicked off his closing day briefing. “We hit it out of the park, hit a home run, what have you.”

Great weather, both locally and for those traveling from afar, strong advertising in both Tampa and Orlando, and a stout schedule all led to a banner year for SUN ‘n FUN, based at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida.

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Celebrating 40 years of great times and great people

BOok

“In the uniquely different manner the event is managed, there is the freedom to explore and innovate by any volunteer.”

That’s how Karl “Bud” Davidson begins his recounting of SUN ‘n FUN’s 40 years in a new book, “Unfreeze Your Bird: The History of SUN ’n FUN” debuting at SUN ’n FUN this year.

Bob Hoover put it another way: “SUN ‘n FUN always felt like a homecoming for me… [Read more…]

Too big for one airport

Thousands of spectators stream through the gates to SUN ‘n FUN each day. They come from down the street and around the world. When they step onto the grounds they encounter hundreds of aircraft of all shapes and sizes.

Flying overhead are biplanes built in the 1920s, transports from the 1940s, production aircraft that span several decades, and fighter aircraft at the cutting edge of today’s technology. Vendors take up residence seemingly on every square inch of ground that isn’t already taken up by campers or parking lots.

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Air shows: The new paradigm

cudahy
By JOHN CUDAHY 

No single American industry was as adversely impacted by last year’s sequestration debacle as the air show business. By the end of the 2013 season, more than 60 shows in the U.S. had cancelled as a direct result of the Pentagon’s withdrawal of all military support.

Dozens of other shows experienced attendance drops of 60% and more. Many communities throughout the country were denied not just a weekend of entertainment, but the philanthropic contributions and local spending that normally accompany the more than 300 shows that are conducted in the U.S. each year.

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Surprise SUN ’n FUN showing by Kitfox

Kitfox

When John McBean of Kitfox Aircraft announced earlier this year that the company wouldn’t be able to participate in any of the big airshows, it was a bad news/good news scenario.

The bad news: Air show attendees wouldn’t get to see the Kitfox up close and personal. The good news: The company’s success had created a backlog of orders that simply took priority over air show attendance.

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