Pilots heading to Sun ‘n Fun 2021 had no real idea what to expect. As evening approached on Sunday set-up day, a big black storm cloud rolled over Sun ‘n Fun’s Lakeland Airport campus, blowing guard shacks and plastic bathrooms around like pieces of paper. An omen? Hardly! The next morning…
The good news is I saw no damage other than a couple cracked-up guard shacks. No airplane damage was obvious to me. The great news is final setup day was gloriously sunny and exhibit airplanes arrived steadily.
By nightfall on Monday as exhibitors finished their preparations, Sun ‘n Fun was looking good and ready for pilots to descend on the Showgrounds.
Several hands pitched in — thanks loudly to a great group from DeLand Showcase — to turn the LAMA LSA Mall into the regular attraction its become over the last 15 years. A fewer number of airplanes will be shown in the LSA Mall but at least one is a machine you’ve never seen before and others are head turners. Nightly music will be featured. Chairs in the shade are available to witness the nightly STOL competition and evening showcase flying.
Show-wide, exhibits are reportedly down about 20%, which I consider an excellent recovery from one of the most trying periods of any of our lives. Many people on-site already were telling stories about friends who are too worried about Covid to chance exposure from crowds. Several people spoke about pilots in Canada not being present as usual; Ontario, for one, heightened lockdowns very recently. Foreign visits will surely be off.
Nonetheless… from what I can tell before the front gates open tomorrow (Tuesday April 13th), Sun ‘n Fun staff and volunteers have done a great job of preparing, vendors are ready to talk to pilots, plenty of pretty flying machines are ready to catch your eye, and lots of people are ready to leave 2020 behind and get back to flying fun.
Images with this article feature airplanes that I’ll be going back to see in more detail when their staff is done setting up and ready to talk. I think I’m gonna be busy! ?