For decades, the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo has been a spring ritual for pilots who have been cooped up all winter. After a year of canceled events and lockdowns because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s edition might be more anticipated than ever.
Here’s a look at five events you won’t want to miss during the week.
Like many pilots and aviation enthusiasts, you have probably missed the sights and especially the sounds of airshows. Sun ‘n Fun will offer an afternoon airshow each day of the event as well as two night airshows (Wednesday and Saturday). The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are the star attraction, with the arrival of Blue Angel No. 7 scheduled during the Wednesday airshow; a group practice during the Thursday airshow; and performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. During the week, enjoy performances by Rower Airshows, Michael Goulian, Greg Koontz, Rob Holland, Class of ’45, Thom Richard, U.S. Air Force C–17, Gene McNeely, Mike Wiskus, Kevin Coleman, David Martin, Gary Ward, Bob Carlton, North American B–25 Panchito, Manfred Radius, the Phillips 66 Aerostars, Jacquie Warda, Paul Dougherty, Patty Wagstaff, Jerry Kerby, Patrick McAlee, the Air Force F–22 Demo Team, the Aeroshell team, and Jim Peitz.
After enjoying the airshows each day, head to the Paradise City Light Plane area on the south end of the field for the National STOL demonstration. The demonstration will showcase the “precision of pilots who have mastered the art of flying low and slow” as they compete to make the shortest takeoff and landing.
Learn the history of the North American B–25 Mitchell bomber Panchito, F8F Blue Angel Bearcat, Class of ’45 aircraft, F–18 Super Hornet, Stallion 51, and the C–47 Placid Lassie during live interviews at Warbird Country each day of the show at 11:30 a.m. Host Connie Bowlin, an experienced warbird and airline pilot and past president of EAA Warbirds of America, will interview pilots in front of their aircraft during Warbirds in Review so that you can learn about their history and contributions to the future of aviation.
The 2021 Aerospace Expo Car Show will take place on April 17 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with show cars starting at 1996 and older.
Take in aviation-themed movies each night at Ace’s Flyin’ Flix in the Convention Campground. Movies start about 8 p.m.; just bring your own chair or blanket. Sun ‘n Fun will be showing movies from Sunday through Saturday: 633 Squadron, Mosquito Squadron, Con Air, Squadron 303, Fate Is the Hunter, Rocketman, and Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines. Popcorn and refreshments will be available.
AOPA members can receive a discount off their Sun 'n Fun admission. Use code "AOPA701" to get $5 off a daily admission ticket and $30 off a weekly admission ticket.