Southern Hospitality


It’s so easy at a big show like Sun ‘n Fun to forget to take a stamp back from the vendors, the displays, and the airshows, and just breath in the hospitality of the place. We took a walk through the vintage parking area one morning, and let the commercial aspects of the main show area wash from our minds as friendly folks sat on the front porch and enjoyed a cup of coffee as the sun chased away the dew lifting out of the grass across Lakeland Regional Airport. With just a few early morning arrivals stirring the air over the runways, the noise of aircraft engines mixed with the gentle chugging of golf carts running out to meet the flying machines as they looked for places to park. The green trees dripping with Spanish Moss formed a backdrop of serenity that belied the fact that as the weekend approaches, the noise of jets will increase, and the early morning quiet won’t last.

In the meantime, these folks knew enough to sit back and enjoy a few moments of peace.

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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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