Sun 'n Fun

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Hot topics at Sun 'n Fun

Article | May 05, 2012

One new program that created a lot of buzz in the tent is the new Pilot Protection Services (PPS), which AOPA officially launched on May 1. By enrolling in PPS, you not only benefit from the advice and assistance available through AOPA’s Legal Services Plan, you also get access to a variety of other services that can help you protect both your pilot and medical certificates. Learn more at

Through the lens: Sun ‘n Fun frame by frame

Article | Apr 05, 2012

AOPA’s 2012 Sweepstakes Husky takes center stage in front of AOPA’s tent at Sun ‘n Fun.

Pilots speak out on medical petition at Sun 'n Fun

Advocacy | Apr 04, 2012

Thousands of pilots who streamed through the AOPA Tent at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., logged support for an effort by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association to reduce the burden of the third class medical.

P-51 Mustang romps to become Challenge Champion

Article | Apr 03, 2012

After 62 pairings of some of aviation's most respected aircraft, it came down to two mighty and beloved airplanes. Pilots voted and talked smack, with one winner prevailing in AOPA's Favorite Aircraft Challenge. Even though the powerful and storied Douglas DC-3 put up a courageous fight in the finals April 1 and 2, it could not attract enough votes to overcome a wave of support by P-51 fans, who helped crown the Mustang as 2012 Challenge Champion.

Airport Support Network volunteers gather at Sun 'n Fun

Article | Apr 03, 2012

Airport Support Network volunteers and their guests learned about AOPA initiatives and new regulatory developments that can affect their home bases on March 30 during Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla.

VFR in to IMC: Learn to escape the odds

Article | Apr 03, 2012

The Air Safety Institute put pilots' skills at VFR-into-IMC scenarios to the test through a Redbird full-motion simulator at the AOPA Tent during Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. The goal was to convey the seriousness of VFR flight into instrument conditions and reinforce basic skills - aviate, navigate, communicate.

GA roots focus of Graves' town hall

Advocacy | Apr 02, 2012

Protecting pilots and antique aircraft, the beginning and foundation of general aviation, were the focus of a town hall hosted by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) March 31 at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla.

Meet the Thunderbirds No. 3 pilot

Article | Mar 31, 2012

Air Force Maj. Caroline Jensen, the fourth woman to hold a flight slot with the Thunderbirds and the second to fly the No. 3 jet, is the last of the team to touch down at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., on March 29. "I'd like to meet a bunch of kids this weekend and have them send me an email some day and say, 'Hey, I met you at Sun'n Fun 2012 and now I'm going to be Thunderbird No. 3."

Piper reaffirms commitment to training market

Article | Mar 29, 2012

Piper Aircraft CEO Simon Caldecott said the business has been realigned around the M-class airplanes (Matrix, Meridian, Malibu), twins, and training aircraft. "I want to get Piper heavily back into the training business," he said.

Apollo astronaut looks to the future at Sun 'n Fun

Article | Mar 28, 2012

Forty years ago, Harrison Schmitt set foot on the moon, emerging from the Apollo 17 lunar module in a valley deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Foundation dedicates fire circle at Sun 'n Fun

Article | Mar 28, 2012

Friendships are forged around campfires, particularly in the backcountry, where pilots seek out pathless woods and scenic vistas. One of the first jobs to be done after securing an aircraft in the midst of natural wonders is lighting a fire, as AOPA President Craig Fuller noted March 27 at Sun 'n Fun.

It's all about the iPad at Sun 'n Fun

Article | Mar 28, 2012

What's happening at the avionics counters in the four large product hangars at Sun 'n Fun? Here's a quick survey, accomplished by walking through all four vendor hangars. You'll hear from some off-Broadway companies that don't often dominate the news.

Classics, warbirds march to 'Challenge' finals

Article | Mar 27, 2012

The P-51 Mustang continued slicing and dicing, eliminating the King Air in a blowout in AOPA's Favorite Aircraft Challenge. The unstoppable F4U Corsair took out the popular Cessna 172; the Mooney M20 couldn't best the lovable Piper J-3 Cub, and the Beech Staggerwing eliminated the Stearman PT-17.

Garmin's 'Pilot' app enhances flight planning

Article | Mar 27, 2012

Garmin has "Garminized" its iPad application. Introduced this week at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In + Expo in Lakeland, Fla., Garmin Pilot replaces the Pilot My-Cast application the GPS maker brought to the tablet market a few years ago.

High school student earns a T-6 flight at Sun 'n Fun

Article | Mar 27, 2012

Hard work and good grades bring many rewards. For Joshua Gutierrez, a student at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, the rewards include a college scholarship to study aeronautical engineering, and, on March 26, a ride in a vintage warbird.

Spitfire kit makes inaugural appearance at Sun ‘n Fun

Article | Mar 27, 2012

The 90-percent scale, all-aluminum Spitfire kit offered by Supermarine Aircraft, an aerobatic two-seater, commands plenty of attention.

Like Florida in springtime, AOPA's 'Challenge' heats up

Article | Mar 26, 2012

Voting is open March 26 in the East Region, where the mighty P-51 Mustang tries to eliminate the formidable King Air; the Cessna 172takes on the F4U Corsair; the Mooney M20 has an uphill battle against the Piper J-3 Cub, and two popular biplanes, the Beech Staggerwing and Stearman PT-17, face off.

Clear skies, smiles as Sun 'n Fun prepares for opening day

Article | Mar 26, 2012

Mike Porter paused in mid-sentence and cocked his head, listening to the distinctive sound of a radial engine overhead. A veteran restorer of Stearman biplanes, Porter explained apologetically that radials always make his ears perk up. There was a lot of that going around as aircraft converged on Lakeland, Fla., for Sun 'n Fun.

Good grits

Article | Mar 24, 2012

The morning of March 23, the Husky flight team awoke in beautiful Cedar Key, Fla. The gulf breezes and sunshine were a great start to the day. Even better was having another Husky join the group for a few hours. Tim Clifford, director of the Recreational Aviation Foundation, joined the crew for breakfast. After talking about how great Sun 'n Fun will be this year over a meal, three Huskies took off from Cedar Key and headed south along the Florida coast.

Weather or not

Article | Mar 22, 2012

Heavy clouds and a low ceiling plagued the morning at AOPA's headquarters in Frederick, Md., not great for VFR Huskies. By early afternoon, conditions improved and a pair of airplanes took off, headed for Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla.

Terrafugia skips Sun ’n Fun for auto show

Article | Mar 07, 2012

Terrafugia, the Woburn, Mass., company working to deliver the world's first roadable production aircraft, or street legal airplane, is striking out into new territory with a debut at the New York International Auto Show April 6 through 15.

Media advisory: Socata to offer one-of-a-kind Trinidad GT for AOPA Air Safety Foundation auction

News release | Apr 10, 2002

Media advisory: Socata to offer one-of-a-kind Trinidad GT for AOPA Air Safety Foundation auction April 10, 2002, press conference to be held at Sun 'n Fun View specially painted "Spirit of Liberty" aircraft at Socata's exhibit At a press conference scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, EADS Socata will announce an auction to benefit AOPA's Air Safety Foundation. A specially painted and equipped "Spirit of Liberty" Trinidad GT will be offered for auction, with proceeds going to help fund AOPA Air Safety Foundation aviation safety and education programs.