SUN ‘n FUN and the Aerospace Center for Excellence welcomed more than 300 families to the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus for the annual Aerospace Discovery Weekend.
The event gave children between the ages of 8-17 the ability to participate in a range of activities, from building and launching a rocket, to flying in an airplane. Experienced volunteer pilots helped fly more than 125 children around Lakeland. Most of whom have never flown in a small aircraft before.
This year, Aerospace Discovery Weekend offered a few new opportunities for everyone in attendance to enjoy. From drone demos, to a special performance by Aviator PPG (Powered Paragliders).
According to their website, “PPG is the most amazing form of powered flight, open to the air in all directions, no fuselage, and no windows, just you in complete control. It encapsulates a sense of PURE freedom, can be launched from a small field, is simple to fly and to transport, requires no licensing or medical. Unlike a traditional aircraft, a paramotor is inherently stable while offering an an even greater degree of precision and control. The pilot sits in a seat, suspended by kevlar lines attached to the glider. The paramotor attaches to the harness or the trike, and provides thrust for climbing or flying level most anywhere you wish. Powered paragliding is a mature sport in existence for 25-years, wildly popular in Europe and South America and growing in popularity in the United States.” Jeannie Schneider, loved the addition to Aerospace Discovery Weekend this year.
“Aviation PPG certainly love what they do.” Schneider said, “And it showed in their enthusiasm of their performance on Saturday evening! Even with the limited airspace they had to work with, the kids watching them, loved it, too!”
Aerospace Discovery Weekend welcomed back crowd favorites this year as well. From martial arts demos, to experiencing a wind tunnel. The weekend also brought Astronaut, Greg Johnson to the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus. Johnson graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1984, and flew in 34 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm. Johnson served as the pilot on Space Shuttle Endeavor in the STS-123 mission to space. He also piloted the shuttles last mission in May of 2011. Among his numerous awards, Johnson received the 2012 NASA Exceptional Service Medal as well as the award for the Top U.S. Air Force Test Pilot.
The event, held every year on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus, has continued to enhance the year around mission of SUN ‘n FUN. Every activity on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus goes back to helping our educational programs, so we can continue accomplishing events such as Aerospace Discovery Weekend. SUN ‘n FUN and the Aerospace Center for Excellence are proud to offer opportunities on a year around basis, like Aerospace Discovery Weekend. Robb Williams, the Executive Director for the Aerospace Center for Excellence is proud to offer the event to the community.
“ACE is proud to serve as the catalyst to inspire young men and women into a future in aviation.” Williams said. “We’re proud to have flown 1000’s of young men and women at our event over the years which have gone on to become the future leaders in the aerospace industry.”
To see more about our year around events, please see our events page and to see more about PPG, please click here.