If you’re like me, you’re aching to hear the roar of the afterburners from our military’s latest fighter, the smooth purr of a Mustang’s Merlin engine, or the prop whine from some of aviation’s top airshow performers. There’s just one problem: The coronavirus has shot down all of your plans (pun intended) to attend airshows this spring.
We’ve already missed the first big chance to see warbirds, ultralights, jets, vintage airplanes, and yes, even a run-of-the-mill Piper Cherokee—or seven—with the cancellation of the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo. Thankfully, Sun ’n Fun has launched a new format to bring you all the airshow videos, exhibitors, learning opportunities, and fun you’d ever want. You just need to provide your own sun.
The site is filled with the usual things you’d expect to see at Sun ’n Fun: photos of your favorite aircraft; videos so you can relive moments from airshows past; profiles on your favorite performers; sections dedicated to exhibitors; and even a virtual expo where you can check out all the cool aircraft, grow your knowledge in the forums, or visit an exhibitor and buy from a selection of online specials. Don’t forget to grab your 2020 Sun ’n Fun apparel commemorating “The Greatest Airshow That Never Happened”! The Home Edition even includes a STEMChats section full of fun activities and educational videos to engage minds of all ages. But what about the aircraft? Sun ’n Fun thought of that, too! Check out every section of the displays you’ve come to expect to see: Vintage, Homebuilt, Aerobatic HQ, Warbirds, and Paradise City.
Proceeds from donations and sales will benefit Sun ’n Fun’s Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE). Because this year’s Aerospace Expo was canceled, ACE has lost over 80 percent of its annual funding, putting scholarships and science, technology, engineering, and math programs on hold.
“The SUN ’n FUN Home Edition Online Benefit is an old-school telethon concept with a 21st-century vibe,” Gibson explained. “We wanted to connect with our audience with a big variety show with lots of flying, interviews, and tons of really entertaining content while raising funds to keep our Aerospace Center for Excellence programs going during this crisis. We have a huge library of STEM-related content that educators and parents alike can use for distance learning. We provide this at no cost, but we need funding to support it.”
The online benefit starts up May 30 at 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time with an interview with airshow star Michael Goulian. So, grab your favorite snacks and drinks, your tried-and-true airshow chair, and your most reliable multimedia device, and get your aviation fix with the Sun ’n Fun Home Edition.