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2020 Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo delayed until May

Coronavirus concern pushes airshow season opener

Editor's note: The Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo has been canceled for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more >

The Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, is the latest general aviation event disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo has been postponed until May 5 through 10 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by David Tulis.

The show, originally scheduled for March 31 to April 5, has been postponed until May 5 through 10. The airshow season opener typically draws 200,000 attendees.

Sun ’n Fun Chief Marketing Officer/Airshow Director Greg Gibson announced March 13, that Sun ‘n Fun and the Aerospace Center for Excellence were “deeply concerned about the developing crisis with COVID-19 and understand our responsibility to help in the fight against the spread of the disease. Our first priority is always with the health, safety, and well-being of our patrons, partners, staff, and volunteers.”

Gibson said county, city, airport, and FAA officials supported the plan to postpone the event until May. He thanked the airport, the community, and the airshow family for their “unwavering support,” and he pointed aviators and aviation enthusiasts to the official website or to social media for updated information.

Organizers were initially optimistic, and announced March 11 that the show would continue as planned with extra protocols in place to ensure “the highest standards of health and safety.” As precautions for the pandemic increased nationwide, organizers changed course and delayed the event.

AOPA commended the Aerospace Center for Excellence for making the tough decision to postpone this year’s Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo: “It is in the best interest of all parties to keep everyone safe while as a nation we work together to stop the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. We look forward to seeing our members and supporters at future events once the situation surrounding the pandemic has improved.”

Sun ’n Fun is the largest fundraiser for the co-located Aerospace Center for Excellence, an education program that helps engage youth with a focus on creating the next generation of aerospace professionals. The center recently announced it had helped create its 100th teenage private pilot through a flight scholarship program. Students learn lessons in a retired Boeing 727 aircraft outfitted with video screens and teaching tools to get a hands-on feel for aviation.

Other springtime events across the United States that usually attract a plethora of GA pilots have been canceled or postponed, with organizers often citing “an abundance of caution” amid the coronavirus outbreak.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.
Topics: Sun 'n Fun, U.S. Travel, COVID19

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