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An airplane (and pilot) spotter's paradise

Rare, beautiful aircraft; famous faces found at Sun 'n Fun

Lakeland, Florida, has long been the place to be for pilots celebrating spring, and more recently focused on building aviation's future. Some icons will shake your hand, while others dazzle the crowd with aerial artistry—or simply gleam in the sun, close enough to touch.

  • Attendees view the Aeroprakt A32 Vixxen at the light sport area during the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, March 28. Photo by David Tulis.
  • Aircraft judges grade a Boeing Stearman in the vintage area. Photo by David Tulis.
  • A Daher TBM 960 is prepped during the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo at Lakeland Linder International Airport. Photo by David Tulis.
  • Rotax officials including Daniela Gallo, Dean Vogel, and Ronnie Smith unveil the new 160-horsepower Rotax 916 iS/c engine during the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo. Photo by David Tulis.
  • Experimental Aircraft Association CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack Pelton speaks to Mark Patey of Best Tugs in the exhibit area during the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo. Photo by David Tulis.
  • Fantasy of Flight founder Kermit Weeks visits an avionics booth in the exhibit area during the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo. Photo by David Tulis.
  • Peter Marshall of MT-Propeller speaks with an airshow attendee in the exhibit area. Photo by David Tulis.
  • A layer of early morning fog bringing temporary low IFR conditions descends on Lakeland Linder International Airport during the first official day of the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, March 28. Photo by David Tulis.
  • The AeroShell Aerobatic Team performs during the opening airshow of the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo at Lakeland Linder International Airport in Lakeland, Florida, March 28. Photo by David Tulis.
  • Airshow pilot and aerobatic champion Rob Holland performs during the opening day of the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo at Lakeland Linder International Airport. Photo by David Tulis.
  • Two Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros jets perform during the afternoon airshow at the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo on March 28. Photo by David Tulis.
  • Warbirds overfly the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo on March 28. Photo by David Tulis.

We turned AOPA Senior Photographer David Tulis loose to pursue the airplanes and aviation celebrities who caught his expert eye.

A yellow Cessna 152 is featured on the AOPA campus during the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo. Photo by David Tulis. A Cessna 195 is parked among the vintage aircraft. Photo by David Tulis. Volunteer Patrick McNamara of Plymouth Municipal Airport in Massachusetts walks the vintage aircraft flight line during the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo.  Photo by David Tulis. North American P-51 Mustangs and an Electra Junior draw attention in the warbird area. Photo by David Tulis. A Lockheed Model 12A Electra Junior reflects the warbird ramp surroundings. Photo by David Tulis. A couple walk through the static aircraft and exhibit area. Photo by David Tulis. Glasair owner Mel Reister of Alberta, Canada, views Garmin aircraft avionics near a sign announcing show specials during the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo. Photo by David Tulis. The High Flight Mustangs P-51 Demo Team start their engines.  Photo by David Tulis.
AOPA ePublishing staff
AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.
Topics: Sun 'n Fun

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