On Tuesday, April 1, 2014 SUN ‘n FUN will be “Building Interest in the Future of Aviation.”  In celebration of 100 years of Commercial Aviation, President and CEO John R. “Lites” Leenhouts is hosting a panel of aviation industry giants.  Joining “Lites” on the stage in the Aerospace Pavilion at the Florida Air Museum will be:

  • Jack Pelton, Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA);
  • Mark Baker, President, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA);
  • Edward M. Bolen, President and CEO, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA); and,
  • Matthew S. Zuccaro, President, Helicopter Association International (HAI)

There is great concern about the forthcoming shortage of pilots and mechanics, designers and manufacturers in aviation careers.  Questions arise about how to finance aviation education, and how to stimulate an interest to become involved in the industry.  Answers are emerging from SUN ‘n FUN in partnership with educators, sponsors and leaders in the aviation industry.

The five professionals on the stage can claim about 200 years in the aviation industry.  They represent commercial, business, military, and recreational aviation in general aircraft, helicopters, jets, passenger planes, and more.  Added to their rich history and vast knowledge, their visionary leadership is setting the stage for an exciting evening of presentations and answers to questions from the audience.

Promoting safety is a core principle in all aviation arenas.  There are common goals in the mission statements of the organizations gathering to make a statement about the future of aviation.

SUN ‘n FUN: To preserve and enhance the future of flight through world-class events, inspiring and educating people of all ages.

EAA:  EAA is dedicated to serving all of aviation by fostering and encouraging individual participation, high standards, and access to the world of flight in an environment that promotes freedom, safety, family, and personal fulfillment

AOPA:  We protect your freedom to fly by advocating on behalf of our members; educating pilots, non-pilots and policy makers alike; supporting activities that ensure the long-term health of General Aviation; fighting to keep General Aviation accessible to all; and, securing sufficient resources to ensure our success.

HAI: To provide its members with services that directly benefit their operations, and to advance the international helicopter community by providing programs that enhance safety, encourage professionalism and economic viability while promoting the unique contributions vertical flight offers society.

NBAA: To foster an environment that allows business aviation to thrive in the United States and around the world.

Where are you on the scale of aviation?  Will you play a role in securing the future of aviation?  Find out how you can educate and prepare future members of the aviation industry or provide resources for those who will.  If you are a student with an interest in the aerospace industry it’s an opportunity to meet the decision makers.  Make plans to participate in this interactive session on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 7:00 p.m., 4175 Medulla Road, Lakeland, FL 33811.