After arriving on the Sun ‘n Fun campus three days before the show even starts, I have had the run of the property, casting about where I please. There are no real restricted areas. I have been able to drive my unmarked and unbadged truck all over the field.
It turns out that is the best way to meet those random and interesting people that God placed us on this planet to interact with. Being an old man without a filter (or so says my wife) I have no hesitation in sparking a conversation with whomever crosses my path.
I got to meet Frank, a golf cart driver, who has absolutely no connection with aviation but for living a few miles from Drane Field. Well into his seventies, having survived a bout with Covid that damn near killed him, and currently battling skin cancer, he decided that what he needed most in life was to have a job to do. So, here he is, driving a golf cart for media types at the show, for free. That’s right, he is a volunteer. All he gets is free parking and free coffee.
Frank, being the curious type, is now fascinated with the myriad aircraft at the show. I told him that it is never too late to learn to fly, because a 72 year old friend of mine did so. Frank told me he is 77, but he also concluded that flying lessons would be a fine thing to do.
We talk about Sun ‘n Fun being a gathering of the aviator tribe. It is clear, however, that the tribe encompasses more than those individuals with a pilot’s certificate in their wallet. It also includes those so curious that they cannot help but explore the wonders of machines that elevate us above the earth. So there we have brother Frank, a newly minted member of the aviator tribe, thanks to SnF.