April 2, 2012
Photos by Thomas B. Haines.
Ground-based Fourth of July fireworks displays will never be the same. Once you’ve seen fireworks shooting from a helicopter, streaming from a glider’s wingtips, or highlighting a nighttime aerobatics routine—choreographed to music—not even Macy’s dramatic New York City celebration can compare.
The Sun ‘n Fun night airshow, which drew smaller crowds and featured less dramatic aerobatics than the daytime show, still wowed spectators.
The Aeroshell team performed aerobatics from dusk into the night. With a minimal to nonexistent horizon as the dark settled in, the aircraft’s lights were visible as well as lit smoke streams resembling comets streaking through the sky. Two soloists performed tandem loops, with each coming down the backside, their aircraft bellies facing one another. Gasps could be heard up and down the flight line as the two aircraft passed one another.
Other performances included an aerobatic glider dancing with streams of white fireworks trailing each wingtip, a helicopter shooting fireworks in 360 degrees while towing the American flag, a homebuilt with lights timed to music that emanated from the aircraft, and a highspeed “taxi” by a jet truck.
After the airshow, Skyspot Advertising gave those in the Sun ‘n Fun campgrounds a reason to look skyward. Advertising messages scrolled across the underside of Roger Caram-Andruet’s aircraft, highlighting everything from Heaven’s Landing to AOPA’s tent.
After a complete electrical failure during an initial climb from the departure airport, the pilot of a Beech King Air 200 learned a valuable lesson from a simple but costly omission.
Time is running out for potential tailwheel pilots to bid on a package of tailwheel training at Lakeland, Florida-based Tailwheels Etc.—including two hours in a 1940 Stearman Kaydet biplane—in this year’s AOPA Foundation online auction.
Many student pilots are nervous come checkride day. When you’re a top official at the agency responsible for the safe operation of the largest airspace system in the world, it can add to the pressure.
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