Florida’s Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport (LAL) has a lot to celebrate this month. Home to the annual Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In, which runs from April 13-18, the airport was recently awarded a $2.4 million grant from the FAA. The funds will be used for taxiway improvements designed to alleviate complex geometric intersections and improve the safety of taxiing aircraft at the airport, officials said. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer with a completion date of spring 2011.
Earlier this month, just before Sun ‘n Fun kicked off, a new restaurant, Earhart’s Runway Grill, opened at the airport, in the former location of the popular Tony’s Airside. The restaurant, which serves American fare, features headphones at all the window seats so visitors can listen to the air traffic control tower at Lakeland. David Layman, a pilot and airplane owner, and his wife, Romina, own and operate the restaurant.
On the other end of the spectrum, two LAL businesses are celebrating milestone anniversaries.
Gulf Coast Avionics, which started as a two-man operation in Tampa, moved to LAL in 1999. It sells avionics, instruments and pilot supplies through a catalog and online. Its lobby also houses an interactive display of the latest avionics products where customers can get hands-on experience with the latest technology, company officials said.
Gulf Coast Avionics also performs avionics installations and custom panel upgrades on everything from kit planes to warbirds to business jets, according to Rick Garcia, founder (pictured).
National Flight Services, which opened its LAL location in 2001, was founded in 1960 in Toledo, Ohio. Purchased by Tom Wiles in 1972, the company is an authorized Twin Commander service center, as well as a Honeywell authorized service center and accessory overhaul center. It also specializes in TPE331 maintenance and overhaul service. The Lakeland facility also has a turbine engine shop.