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