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Colors of Sun 'n FunColors of Sun 'n Fun

Long dubbed "Spring break for pilots," the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo, the first major U.S. fly-in of the year, kicked off April 4 in Lakeland, Florida, under partly cloudy skies.

  • Florida clouds are reflected in Joe Shepherd's immaculately restored and highly polished Lockheed 12A Electra Junior. Photos by Mike Collins.
  • A colorfully painted Cessna 206 taxis to aircraft camping after landing at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport for Sun 'n Fun.
  • The AOPA 172 Sweepstakes grand prize is beside the AOPA tent at Sun 'n Fun, and invites comparisons to the partially refurbished Skyhawk displayed last year.
  • From left, a Beech Staggerwing, a Waco biplane, and a Stinson Reliant repose in the antique/classic parking area.
  • An Aviat Husky A1-C is on display for visitors to the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo this week in Lakeland, Florida.
  • A Piper Comanche prepares to touch down at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport for Sun 'n Fun, with the airport's tower as the background.
  • Two special missions Beech King Airs--from the U.S. Army, left, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection--are displayed on the warbird ramp.
  • The French national jet team, the Patrouille de France, will perform with these nine Alpha Jets at Sun 'n Fun on Tuesday, April 4.
  • These Alpha Jets, flown by the French national jet team, the Patrouille de France, are parked with precision on a closed runway.
  • Paul Rice of Harvey Cedars, New Jersey, secures his Van's Aircraft RV-8 after arriving at Sun 'n Fun. His cousin designed the paint scheme, originally envisioned as a military theme with art only on the tail.
  • A T-28 Trojan receives some attention on the warbird ramp.
  • People talk in front of a Waco YMF-5D Super at Sun 'n Fun. New iterations of the classic biplane are still being hand-crafted in Michigan.

Many pilots flew in ahead of the show to secure camping spots and get their aircraft shined up for spectators while vendors prepared their display aircraft. Airshow performers parked their aircraft with the same level of precision by which they’ll be flying throughout the week.

AOPA Technical Editor Mike Collins captured some of the early arrivals on camera. The sun and blue skies reflected beautifully off a polished Lockheed Electra Jr., a sight too beautiful to pass up a photo op.

Colorful paint schemes, on fly-in and display aircraft, will be sure to give aircraft owners who want to do something different with their airplane some ideas. Collins photographed a colorful Cessna 206 that flew in from Venezuela to camp at the show, the red-white-and-blue scheme of the Patrouille de France formation jet team, and a unique Van's Aircraft RV-8.

AOPA’s Cessna 172 Sweepstakes airplane arrived April 3 also sporting a unique design. With a base coat of silver, the airplane is decked out with logos sure to keep pilots’ attention as they read about the new enhancements to the aircraft and learn how they can win.

Members should stop by the AOPA campus at Sun 'n Fun to attend educational seminars in the program pavilion, see the sweepstakes airplane, talk to AOPA staff, and take care of their membership needs.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Miller

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: Sun n Fun

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