The 2018 SUN ‘n FUN fly-in ended much the same as it started…with a torrent of rain and wind. Those two weather features make any outdoor event rather untenable.
But as I was driving to Sarasota to see family on Monday after the fly-in closed early on Sunday, I found myself lost in thought. While the opening and closing days weren’t exactly what show organizers wanted, those days in between were among the best I’ve experienced at SUN ‘n FUN and reminded me of the poem The Dash.
For those unfamiliar, The Dash points to the importance of that small but significant character often found between a person’s dates of birth and death on a burial headstone.
The closing line of the poem reads, “So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash…would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?”
I’m not thinking about the weather, although that was spectacular. I’m not thinking about the crowds, although those seemed to grow as the days went by. I’m not even thinking about how smoothly SUN ‘n FUN Today – the daily newspaper we produce for the show – went together this year.
I’m thinking about all those facets of life that make it worth living. Nearly everyone I ran in to was upbeat and positive. For anyone who thinks aviation is dead or dying, don’t tell that to the scores of volunteers who make SUN ‘n FUN possible or the businesses that use SUN ‘n FUN to announce scores of stories.
A partial list from my reporter’s notebook:
- Aviat introduced a dozen upgrades to the Husky.
- The Florida Sport Aviation Antique and Classic Association donated $5,000 to the Lakeland Aero Club
- ForeFlight demonstrated a slew of forthcoming features
- SUN ‘n FUN kicked off a $4 million capital campaign to build STEM learning classrooms
- FltPlan.com and the Dominican Republic signed documents allowing — for the first time — pilots to electronically file Dominican Republic flight plans
- Guardian Avionics extended its smartPanel line for mounting your iOS device in your cockpit
- A Sonex Motorglider is being built by Lakeland Aero Club members to honor the donor’s son, who died of cancer
- The Coconut Flyers and Dunedin Brewery donated $2,500 to the Aerospace Center for Excellence
- Belite debuted its Chipper 2-seat experimental
- To grow its recently launched flight training program, the Lyman Ward Military Academy exhibited at SUN ‘n FUN for the first time
- Bose rolled out its new ProFlight headset
- For the 23rd year in a row Royal Air Force Cadets volunteered at SUN ‘n FUN
- And loads of volunteers, many with decades of experience, continue to make SUN ‘n FUN what it is
As the 24/7 drumbeat of mainstream news becomes harder and harder to drown out, SUN ‘n FUN for me each spring becomes a wonderful mute button for the outside noise.
Whether it is meeting the wonderfully talented and engaged young men and women who are students at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy and members of the Lakeland Aero Club or eating an ear or two of corn in the campground among friends or merely watching planes takeoff and land from the main runway, the rotorcraft runway, or most popularly Paradise City’s runway, there is much to enjoy about SUN ‘n FUN.
If you haven’t been, I encourage you to put SUN ‘n FUN on your calendar. In 2019, the fly-in is scheduled for April 2-7.
Make certain SUN ‘n FUN is included in your life’s dash.