LAKELAND, Florida — Transition to the Sky is a new program offered at the Aerospace Center for Excellence on the SUN ‘n FUN campus on Lakeland Linder Regional Airport that is designed to prepare people with special needs and their families for future air travel.
Participants learn what it is like to experience steps associated with air travel. The real time simulation allows families to walk through the steps to create an atmosphere similar to an active airport while working between the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus and Lakeland Linder Airport.
The simulation steps participants experience include:
- Airport Arrival;
- Check-in and Ticketing;
- Security Screening;
- Gate and Departure Lounge;
- In-Flight Simulation;
- Baggage Claim.
Parents and caretakers of children or adults with special needs often face difficulties as a result of balancing the needs of their child or adult with the common stressors of an airport. To make the travel experience as enjoyable as possible, preparation is key.
Transition to the Sky will create confident, comfortable, and acclimated individuals that are ready for future air travel, according to SUN ‘n FUN officials.“This program helps an underserviced demographic in air transportation,” said Robb Williams, Director of the Aerospace Center for Excellence. “As a retired commercial pilot, this program can only enhance the air travel experience for all individuals and I am proud to volunteer my time for Transition to the Sky.”
Gene Conrad, Airport Director, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, hopes this program helps families.
“The Lakeland Airport is excited to play a part in this wonderful program,” Conrad said. “We hope this helps families with special needs become comfortable with traveling. We want everyone to experience air travel, it opens up so many possibilities for families and caretakers.”
Richele Floyd, ACE Education Director, believes this program could be the answer for many families who feel air travel isn’t on their horizon.
“Transition to the Sky is a program designed to assist families with apprehensions of air travel,” Floyd began. “I have spoken with many families who feel prohibited to fly because they do not want to expose their child to the common obstacles or confusion associated with an airport. This program will immerse them in a simulation in a fun and supportive way and hopefully break any barriers they may have. We want to help families feel confident that air travel is possible for them; preparation is the key.”
The next simulation for Transition to the Sky will run on May 11 at 9 a.m. The simulation typically lasts two hours and registration is open to the public. To learn more about this program, contact Richele Floyd at RFloyd@flysnf.org or call her at 863-644-2431.