From formation takeoff to “follow the leader” in attitudes more extreme then I’ve experienced before, it was fun ride. Team founder Mike “Kahuna” Stewart provided explanations of the maneuvers being flown as we danced through the morning sky with just feet of separation with the other 10 RV-8s.
The day started foggy but it didn’t prevent my flight or the mass balloon launch that preceded it.
The afternoon air show found me getting a little tired and sun baked but I did manage to catch more action from the F-22 Raptor
Jaw dropping power and performance.
It’s coming up on 6am on a Sunday morning. My flight home leaves around 2:30 so I’ll probably head back to the grounds for a couple of hours and more pictures in the static and General Aviation areas. Or I might just go, sit and enjoy the morning. It’s been a long, lovely week in Lakeland and a fantastic start to the air show season.
Things are booming at Sun ‘n Fun 2014. Compared to 2013 there’s definitely more people and excitement around this year’s event. The return of the Jet teams and perfect weather is drawing numbers that I’m sure will please the organizers.
One of the big draws this year is the F-22 Raptor that put on it’s first show yesterday. It certainly lives up to all the hype. Fast, agile and incredibly powerful it wowed the crowds with a high energy performance before taking part in a particularly rare Heritage Flight.
The Raptor, P-51D Mustang “Crazy Horse 2” and P-38 Lightning “Glacier Girl” came together for a couple of formation passes that brought the audience to their feet.
Day 3 at Sun ‘n Fun 2014 had a definite blue tinge. Blue Angel blue. The team arrived early in the day and we were treated to multiple flights as they performed orientation runs and a full practice. So nice to see, and hear, the power of the Super Hornets being flown in tight precision. Fat Albert came along as well.
Also in the morning we were treated to the arrival of not 1 but 2 F-22 Raptors. It’s been years since I’ve seen one and they’re still an awesome piece of machinery. Can’t wait to see them perform.
The afternoon show saw the last 3 flying F7F Tigercats putting on a show that was definitely a once in a lifetime sight.
Another perfect day in Florida. Brilliant sun and warm temperatures continue unabated. Wednesday was a day for wandering. From catching some arrivals like this Beechcraft in the morning to checking out the vendors and meeting up with some friends who flew down from Sarnia.
As a teaser, Blue Angels #7 flew in to give media rides. The full team arrives on Thursday.
Long days but I’ve learned to pace myself so I’m ready to go for the rest of the week.
Just over a week to go until the airshow season gets a very early start. Sun ‘n Fun 2012 starts on March 27 at Lakeland Florida. First time for this show which ranks second only to Oshkosh as the largest fly-in event in North America.
Sun ‘n Fun has an impressive roster of performers including the Thunderbirds (above shot from Thunder of Niagara 2011), Rob Holland, Black Diamond Jet Team, Michael Wiskus and others. Airshows every day!
The only dark cloud on the horizon is the ongoing labor dispute between Air Canada and its pilots. With legislation preventing a strike or lockout, both sides are playing games with each other.