Season Opener


Yes folks its that time again – time for airplanes and airplane fans to gather in sunny Lakeland, Florida for the annual kick-off of the airshow and fly-in season, Sun ‘n Fun! The weather forecast looks about as it gets for central Florida, with a slight chance of afternoon showers early in the week, and a front coming through Wednesday night to cool off the already balmy 90-degree highs to the mid-seventies for the end of the week. For those who already live in Florida, its another day in paradise – for those coming in from the frozen north, it might well be an inviting paradise!

We took a swing through the busy grounds on Monday, watching the many volunteers finish with setting up signs, raking mulch and cleaning things up – among the bustle of vendors setting up booths and display aircraft. A steady stream of shiny new planes kept taxiing up to the gate where eager folks towed them to their assigned locations. Parking for visiting aircraft was beginning to see arrivals as well, with tents going up in the homebuilt and GA camping areas. The sound of jet noise from an arriving F-16 mingled with the supersonic prop tips of the Aeroshell T-6’s as both found their slots in the landing pattern and were marshaled to their parking areas.

We saw a large group of orange-shirted Air Traffic Controller gathered in front f the FAA building for a pep talk and probably a group photo – be kind to this enthusiastic group as they move you through the arrival and departure procures. Be kind to the many volunteer taxi marshals as well – its hot out there on the ramp, and they are giving their time to get you safely to parking. And don’t forget to be kind to yourself by keeping hydrated and slathering yourself with sunscreen – there is going to be plenty of Sun to go with the Fun!

If you can’t make the show, follow along as Kitplanes contributors roam the grounds all week to bring you stories of new aircraft, new kits, new equipment – and interesting people.

If you ARE going to attend, look up the Kitplanes coverage on your portable device to make sure you don’t miss all those interesting stories either – there’s lots to see and do at the show, and we hope to help you find it.

See you at the show.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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