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Sun N' Fun Takes Over Skies Above Central Florida This Week

Flying backseat in a T-6 Texan warbird with pilot Bill Doty earlier this week, previewing the 38th annual Sun N' Fun International Fly-In and Expo.  Photo Credit:  Mike Killian / Aerospace Florida

Flying backseat in a T-6 Texan warbird with pilot Bill Doty earlier this week, previewing the 38th annual Sun N' Fun International Fly-In and Expo. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / Aerospace Florida

The 38th annual Sun N’ Fun International Fly-In and Expo takes over the skies above central Florida this week, kicking off the first major international aviation event of 2012 for the United States.  An estimated 175,000 people from more than 80 countries will converge on the city of Lakeland through Sunday, turning Lakeland Linder Regional Airport into the busiest airport in the world.

Student pilots, veteran pilots, armchair aviation enthusiasts, air show performers, the military, even Apollo 17 astronaut and moon-walker Jack Schmidt – all of them and more will participate in the festivities this week, distinguishing the Sun N’ Fun Fly-In as the largest convention in the state of Florida.  Guests will encounter nearly every form of mankind’s achievement in the pursuit of flight over the past 100 years.

The United States Air Force thunderbirds will headline the week's air show performances, roaring through the skies above Lakeland Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon.  Photo Credit:  USAF Thunderbirds

The United States Air Force thunderbirds will headline the week's air show performances, roaring through the skies above Lakeland Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon. Photo Credit: USAF Thunderbirds

“Our flight crew has worked diligently for the past twelve months rigorously preparing for this adventurous flight that we want to be exciting, enjoyable, and most assuredly rewarding for everyone onboard,” says Sun N’ Fun president and CEO Jack Leenhouts.  “We truly hope that this year’s flight is a memorable one.”

Known in the aviation community as a “Spring Break for Pilots and Friends”, Sun N’ Fun will provide a wide variety of aircraft experiences – everything from warbirds to custom built ‘homemade’ aircraft, seaplanes, military jet aircraft, and hot air balloons will be on-site and in the skies for all to enjoy.  Even FiFi, the world’s only still flying B-29 Superfortress, will be at Sun N’ Fun.  Guests will be allowed a rare opportunity to tour, and even fly aboard, FiFi on select dates and times.

FiFi, the only still flying B-29 Superfortress in existence, will be available for public flights and tours at Sun N' Fun this week during select dates and times.  Photo Credit: Alan Walters

FiFi, the only still flying B-29 Superfortress in existence, will be available for public flights and tours at Sun N' Fun this week during select dates and times. Photo Credit: Alan Walters

Many famed air show performers will be flying throughout the week and into the weekend, showcasing their jaw-dropping routines for huge crowds.  Rob Holland, Matt Chapman, Patty Wagstaff, Michael Goulian, Skip Stewart, and the Black Diamond Jet Team are just a handful of the many acts expected to wow thousands of spectators each afternoon.  Headlining the week’s festivities will be the Unites States Air Force Thunderbirds, who are expected to roar through the skies in their F-16’s Friday, Saturday, and Sundey afternoon.

The weather forecast through Sunday is ideal, with sunny skies and low rain chances expected.  Folks attending Friday afternoon’s air show will be in for a special treat, as a night air show will begin shortly after the sun goes down.

Flying into Sun N' Fun backseat in a T-6 Texan with Bill Doty earlier this week.  Photo Credit: Mike Killian / Aerospace Florida

Flying into Sun N' Fun backseat in a T-6 Texan with Bill Doty earlier this week. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / Aerospace Florida

Americaspace, in collaboration with the Aerospace Research and Engineering Systems Institute and Aerospace Florida, will be providing daily features and imagery on the Sun N’ Fun festivities through Sunday.

For more information about the 38th annual Sun N’ Fun Fly-In please visit www.sun-n-fun.org/flyin.aspx

For more information about the Aerospace Research and Engineering Systems Institute and Aerospace Florida, please visit www.aresinstitute.org

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