Pilots, aircraft owners and other aviation enthusiasts planning to attend this year’s SUN ’n FUN International Fly–In & Expo have a great deal to look forward to as this year’s event offers one of the strongest schedules of aircraft, people and programs in recent memory.  The 37th annual “Spring Break for Pilots and friends” will be held March 29 – April 3 at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland.  

“From start to finish, this  SUN ’n FUN 2011 offers something for every age and interest,” said SUN ’n FUN President and Convention Chairman John Burton.  “This year’s activities range from the 100th anniversary of naval aviation to a 20-year retrospective on Desert Storm, a 10-year commemoration of September 11, 2001, and the formal opening of the spectacular new Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA) on the SUN ’n FUN campus.  In fact, SUN ’n FUN’s educational Forums will be held in the state-of-the-art CFAA facilities, which offer high-tech audio/visual systems and air conditioned comfort for our participants and guests.  Those who are not planning to be with us may want to reconsider once they see the complete line up of events and activities taking place throughout the week.”

Highlights include:

100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation, including performances by the U.S. Navy “Blue Angels” military jet demonstration team on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (March 31 – April 3); an Evening Program hosted by NASA Space Shuttle Commander and Naval Aviator Robert “Hoot” Gibson and a distinguished panel of other naval aviators who include Vice Admiral (Ret.) Gerald L. Hoewing, former Chief of Naval Personnel and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations;

Don’t miss the Blue Angels at SUN ‘n FUN!

Full Performances:
Saturday – April 2 & Sunday – April 3 at 4 to 5:15 p.m.

Commander Ed Schneider who, following his active duty in the Navy from 1968 to 1983, served in various capacities with NASA, most recently as Chief Test Pilot; and Lt. Commander Chuck Scott, who followed his distinguished Navy career by serving as a Captain with Southwest Airlines. 

Test Pilot Program/Forum hosted by Ed Schneider (see above), former NASA Chief Test Pilot and SR-71 pilot.

20-Year Retrospective on “Desert Storm” hosted by USAF Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Cory Kornum (Flight Surgeon and F-15 pilot) and US Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Rhonda Cornum, (Flight Surgeon and POW).

10-Year Commemoration of 9-11 on Sunday, April 3, with a pre-Air Show Emergency Response Team (ERT) Parade, Missing Man formation during the air show and Taps.

Formal dedication of new Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA) building on the SUN ‘n FUN  campus on the open morning of the show.

F-22 “Raptor” demonstration on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 1-3.

Participation by FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

Aviation Town Hall Meeting on the state  and importance of  General Aviation  coordinated by Congressman Sam Graves and featuring leadership of AOPA, EAA, FAA, GAMA, NBAA and CAF.

Airplane Auction (AvBid Aircraft Auctions) on Wednesday and Thursday, March 30-31.

Annual Splash-In – Thursday, March 31, on Lake Agnes at Fantasy of Flight.

Hot Air Balloon Launch at dawn on Saturday, April 2.

Daily Air Show; Night Air Show on Friday, April 1, with fireworks plus U.S. Navy Band “Pride” in Sunset Grill!

AOPA Day, Rally GA! (Friday, April 1).

Lindbergh Foundation Awards Celebration and Dinner hosted by SUN ’n FUN (Wednesday, March 30).

Lindbergh Foundation Day (Thursday, March 31) featuring day-long forums on balancing technology and the environment.

Evening Program on Thursday features “An Evening with the EAA Presidents” (Founder Paul Poberezny; Chairman Tom Poberezny and President Rod Hightower).

Saturday’s Evening Program – “A Look Into Aviation’s Future” – will be hosted by John L. Peterson, award-winning author, Founder/President of the Arlington Institute, G.A. pilot and aircraft owner and the world’s most acclaimed “futurist.”  

“Green Space” Exhibit focusing on environmentally friendly, aviation-related products and services anchored by Lindbergh Foundation.

Inspirational “Mission Aviation” Exhibit featuring 7  mission aviation organizations and live coverage by Moody Radio returns to Southeast Exhibit Area.

International Visitors Party on Friday, April 1.

Participation by vintage Warbird aircraft from Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and EAA Warbirds of America; plus increased military aircraft Fly-Bys all week.

Cub Convoy, 75th Anniversary – mass arrival to SUN ’n FUN on Monday,  March 28.

Expanded Exhibit options with the return of Hangar “Echo” and re/co-located “Parts Exchange” at entrance to Main Campground.  

Starbucks returns to Hangar Echo; adds two additional outlets.

Two New VIP Club Hosting Opportunities (9/27 Circle; Flightline Club) located on the flightline at show central.

450 Educational Forums (in new CFAA building!) and Workshops

New Products & Demos from over 500 (and still counting) Commercial Exhibitors

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.