Musically inclined…

Did you know that general aviation pilots are more musically inclined than the general population? According to a Sennheiser Aviation official at Sun ’n Fun today, about 48% of pilots play a musical instrument, compared to the about 5% of the general population. Rock on!

A Pioneering spirit: One of many

By CONNIE SUE WHITE, Flying magazine managing editor and SUN ’n FUN Today volunteer guest writer

At Sun ’n Fun, there are signs everywhere indicating the dedication of what has grown to a force of some 3,000 volunteers who put on a six-day event hosting an estimated 160,000 guests — from the friendly faces of those standing at the ready to greet guests and answer questions, to those driving by in golf carts on their way to their next task, to the dedications inscribed on placards strategically placed on various buildings and benches, and even the names on street signs.

One dedication in particular caught my attention when I was onsite last Saturday morning: The Sun ’n Fun Pioneers Wall outside the Florida Air Museum. Some 230 names adorn the wall, including the name of the man I was scheduled to interview — Paul Hopkins.

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AOPA partners with Build-A-Plane

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has become the latest media partner with Build-A-Plane, supporting the Kids Across America campaign, created to help children make the trip to Oshkosh, Wis., for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2012 AirVenture.

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Sun ’n Fun Splash-In at Fantasy of Flight Thursday

Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida, will once again play host the annual Sun ’n Fun Splash-In, a one-day event specifically designed to celebrate seaplanes and other amphibious aircraft.

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Lindbergh Foundation to present awards Thursday

The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation will present the Lindbergh Award and the Lindbergh Spirit Award at a celebration at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Thursday.

Legendary inventor Forrest Bird will receive the 2012 Lindbergh Award and Florida businessman-philanthropist James C. Ray has been named recipient of the Spirit Award.

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Students take to the skies to thank their benefactor

Thursday at the Sun ’n Fun fly-in in Lakeland, Florida, two 17-year-old students will perform a special fly-by honoring James Ray, the man who donated the money to build the Central Florida Aerospace Academy on the Sun ’n Fun campus.

The students, Phillip “Maverick” Herrington and Angel “Talisman” Castellanos, wanted to perform the fly-by to thank the man who made their wildest dreams come to life.

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CAP cadets pitch in to build first RAF Fire Hub

By CONNIE SUE WHITE

When Civil Air Patrol Seminole Composite Squadron Deputy Commander Kenny Eads asked a group of five cadets to volunteer for a unique mission, it caught on like wildfire. The assignment: build the first-ever Fire Hub on the SUN ’n FUN campgrounds.

Eads explained to the young men that it would the be the first of 50 Fire Hubs planned across the United States as part of the Recreational Aviation Foundation’s latest fund-raising initiative [Read more...]

Why would you fly to Sun ’n Fun?

Questioning pilots flying into Sun ’n Fun is an unexpected thing to hear from the fly-in’s new safety advisor to the president, Ben Coleman.

Coleman is a nationally renowned aviation safety expert with more than 38 years of experience, much of it with the NTSB and FAA. He has investigated more than 400 aviation accidents through which he has amassed a number of safety principles that he shares with the general aviation community through the Sun ’n Fun website, blogs and forum programming.

“There is a cornucopia of safety related information in aviation,” he said. “All of it put together is useless unless the end user is confident, competent, proficient and motivated.”

When Coleman questions your desire to fly to SUN ’n FUN, he wants people to read further — “unless you are: [Read more...]

StormReady: Lessons learned from last year’s tornado

When the tornado ripped through the Sun ’n Fun grounds last year, it took a lot of people by surprise — and ensuring that never happens again became a top priority for the fly-in’s new president, John “Lites” Leenhouts.

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High grades, high flight for student

How do you manage a 4.4 GPA on a 4.0 scale? “You take lots of Advanced Placement and Honors classes,” said Joshua Gutierrez, a 17-year-old honor student at Central Florida Aviation Academy, which is on the SUN ’n FUN campus.

Gutierrez has the highest GPA in his school and as a reward he earned a ride in the back seat of a T-6 Monday morning.

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