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My last full day at Sun ‘n Fun was also the best. Thanks to Hartzell Propeller I won a ride with Team Aerodynamix over Lakeland.
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.
Sun ‘n Fun 2014 is off and running. Opening day brought brilliant sunshine and very comfortable temperatures. As usual, the opening day crowds weren’t overwhelming so it was a great time to scope out the grounds before things get busy. My day started with a nice shout out from Dave Shallbetter and Carl Valeri down at the Sun ‘n Fun Radio station. Thanks guys.
Once again I’ve sprung for the premium ticket at the 9/27 Club so I dropped by to drop off my bag and check out the offerings. Lockers are much smaller this year and the locks don’t work well. On the plus side the air conditioning works and the drinks are cold. Still a great spot to watch the show. The Aeroshell Team dropped by at lunch and practicsed formation poster signing.
The afternoon air show ran for a good 3 hours and there’s very few gaps in any of the Fun ‘n Sun shows. Air Boss Wayne Boggs always does a good job of keeping them tight and on time. An interesting act was “The Immortals” featuring Melissa Pemberton, Skip Stewart and Kyle Franklin. Lots of smoke and close passes. Here Skip photobombs Melissa for an interesting picture.
Nice to see an entire show without jets. Dan Marcotte, who I know from the NECAS meetings, came down from Vermont and put on a really nice show. Looked like he was having a lot of fun – he was grinning from ear to ear when I ran into him after the show. Flying on opening day when things are a little more relaxed and the jet team hasn’t showed up is probably less stressful than it will be by the time the weekend rolls around.
Day 2 looks to be setting up for another sunny and warm one. Time to get ready to head out for some morning shooting.
Sun ‘n Fun starts tomorrow.
I am SO looking forward to looking at airplanes beneath a warm Florida sky again. 3 days until Sun ‘n Fun 2014 begins.
Today’s memory comes at a sad time. Jim “Fang” Maroney was killed in a crash as he was flying his Super Chipmunk to an air show in the United States.
I only saw Fang once at Sun ‘n Fun in 2012 and this is the best shot I got. Quite a showman and a tremendous loss to the community.
With just over a week to go until I fly out, here’s a memory of last year’s Sun ‘n Fun gathering in Lakeland Florida. The Black Diamond Jet Team with 4 L-39 and a T-33 performing an exciting break to finish their show.
The Black Diamonds stepped in to fill the void left by the cancellation of the USAF Thunderbirds as a result of the sequestration. The Diamonds are based at Lakeland Linder Airport where Sun ‘n Fun is held.
This year’s event brings the Blue Angels as the headlining jet team and I can’t wait to see them for the first time in 3 years.