An enthusiastic John “Lites” Leenhouts, Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo president and CEO, breathlessly told AOPA Editor Kollin Stagnito that he was “ecstatic” over the attendance at the forty-seventh annual event. “This is absolutely unbelievable,” Leenhouts said. “We never, ever expected to have this large of a turnout; it may be a record-setting event.”
Leenhouts remarked on the weekend attendance as local Florida residents are offered a pass that allows them to buy Saturday admission and get Sunday free. “We’ve never seen that kind of activity. There were 10,000 cars in the parking lot; that means a minimum 35,000 to 40,000 people on Saturday alone,” he said.
“The skies were clear and the pathway to get in was open. We had a board member refuel in Knoxville, take off, and be told by ATC to ‘follow everyone else’” Leenhouts said. “I’ve never seen anything like this; the world is open for business.”