The 42nd annual Sun ‘n’ Fun International Fly-In and Expo kicks off tomorrow at Lakeland (Fla.) Linder International Airport and runs through Sunday. It will feature 500 exhibitors, a kids' zone, tours, aircraft displays, car shows, evening entertainment, educational aviation sessions and a daily airshow, among others. Organizers are projecting more than 10,000 aircraft movements at the airport this week.
Airshows begin daily at 2:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday and 1:30 p.m. from Friday to Sunday. A twilight airshow is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Wednesday and a night airshow with fireworks is on the slate on Saturday at 8 p.m. Aerial performers include the AeroShell AeroStars, Lima Lima Flight, EAA Warbirds and Breitling Jet teams, as well as individual stars Patty Wagstaff, Michael Goulian and Kirby Chambliss. There will also be demonstrations of the F-22 and F/A-18, with the airshow started by the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team.
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will also present a demonstration patrons can expect when they attend one of the eight Red Bull air races taking place around the world this year. During this demo, Goulian and Chambliss will fly at top speed around an abbreviated race course marked by 80-foot pylons.
“Honoring Our Armed Forces” is the theme for this year’s airshow and each day will be dedicated to a specific branch of the military. Active military personnel will receive free admission Tuesday through Thursday and discounted admission Friday through Sunday. Discounts are also available for retired military. In line with this theme, the U.S. Coast Guard will do a search-and-rescue demo during the daily airshows using an Airbus Helicopters MH-65 Dolphin and Lockheed C-130 Hercules. And on Thursday at about 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, a “Flight to Honor” will land at Lakeland to return WWII and Korean War veterans from a special visit to the memorials in Washington D.C.