During the 41st Annual SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In & Expo, the airshow, exhibits and fun will be intertwined with options that hold true to the SUN ‘n FUN mission to preserve and enhance the future of flight through world-class events, inspiring and educating people of all ages. More than 200,000 guests, exhibitors, instructors, pilots, volunteers and students from 80 countries are expected during the week.
Schedules at SUN ‘n FUN events offer very diverse opportunities for the guests on the SUN ‘n FUN Convention Campus. Unlike any other, teachers will find the Aerospace Educators Workshop to be an entertaining and enlightening morning on Saturday April 25th from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Workshop instructors are well-known personalities and offer unique lessons. Keynote luncheon speaker is Retired Astronaut Greg Johnson. The Ray Lien award will be presented to the Aerospace Educator of the Year and nomination forms can be found at www.sun-n-fun.org. For the cost of $20 + parking, teachers rotate through hands-on learning experiences that can be transferred into their curriculums as they incorporate aviation-based STEM techniques into the classroom. Five (5) in-service credits are available for educators.
Student Tours are offered to college, K-12 school, home school, church, family, and scouting groups. During these tours, students, teachers, and chaperones have the opportunity to see one of the largest aviation events in the world. Our interactive walking tour may include flying aircraft demonstrations, historic aircraft, forums, high-tech ultralight and light sport aircraft, military aircraft, a museum visit and more. Student Tours available Tuesday through Saturday can be scheduled and pre-paid on the SUN ‘n FUN website. Tours include age-specific hands-on activities in the Piedmont Aerospace Lab, interactive learning stations and historic static displays in Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum. Tour the 2,200 acres of SUN ‘n FUN and visit Paradise City, the WarBirds and Vintage aircraft areas. The new young aviators camping area is hosted for and by youth pilots. On the WarBird Ramp, students will be introduced to the story, in a portable theater, of the amazing Tuskegee Airmen and their accomplishments during World War II and beyond. The last tour departs at 11 a.m.
Throughout the week guests will have the opportunity to visit the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit in WarBird Country during convention hours. Americans who would become known as the Tuskegee Airmen wanted to fight for freedom as pilots during World War II. What made them different from the thousands of others with the same patriotic zeal was that they were black at a time when the U.S. military had no black pilots or air support crews. In the 1940s, the ignorance of segregation and prejudice was a sad part of American culture. This meant the U.S. military wouldn’t give black men a chance to train as pilots, but as the country geared up for war, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was pressured to change that. He ordered the Army Air Corps to set up a pilot training program in Tuskegee, Alabama. The program was not expected to be successful, but the young black soldiers who worked so hard to become America’s first black military pilots proved everyone wrong. The mission of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron is to share the inspiring legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen – America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Their success in triumphing over adversity during WWII can still inspire people of all ages to rise above obstacles they may face. In addition to providing the traveling exhibit, the CAF Red Tail Squadron provides educational materials and innovative ideas for teachers and others who work with youth so the young people they guide can be motivated to set goals and “rise above” any obstacles in order to achieve success. The CAF will also fly a rare World War II-vintage P-51C red-tailed Mustang at air shows across the country to create interest in the military history of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew similar red-tailed Mustangs over Europe from 1943 to 1945.
On Friday, April 24th the USAF Thunderbirds will be on stage at 10:00 a.m. for a student assembly in the Aerospace Pavilion. Pilots, Mechanics and Medical Support Officers will engage with the students. School bus transportation is being arranged for high schools in and around Polk County. There is no admission charge for teens participating in this activity and they are encouraged to tour the grounds after the presentation. Call John Iskra at 863-644-2431 for more information.
Featured STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) partners and aviation programs will be found at the Education Showcase to be held on Thursday, April 23rd from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum. Exhibits include Admiral Farragut Academy, Bok Academy, Central Florida Aerospace Academy, Eagles Nest (Florida, Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin), Florida Air Academy, Florida Memorial University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida Polytechnic, Florida Southern College, Jacksonville University, Lakeland Highlands Middle School, Nature Coast High School, Polk State College, and Traviss Career Center.
Also on April 23rd at 11:00 a.m., be at the flightline as SUN ‘n FUN education partner JetBlue Airways arrives with their Airbus and hosts 150 aviation students visiting for the day from NYC, Orlando and Lakeland. JetBlue has made a major commitment to support the SUN ‘n FUN Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Mechanics training and hosts CFAA students at JetBlue University throughout the school year.
During the annual event, SUN ‘n FUN Aviation Workshops Chairmen arrange a diverse setting where guests can walk in and learn techniques, discover answers to questions about their individual aircraft or training need and complete the requirements for FAA recertification in their career field. Workshops are held Tuesday through Sunday.
Education Forums consist of more than 300 presentations scheduled in the Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA) during the week of the event. Hosted by Polk State College, participants are invited to attend individual slots with their favorite speaker or to participate in all events that fall in one of several aviation themed learning tracks such as Aerobatic, Alternative Engines, Sport Pilot/LSA, Type Club, FAA Wings Credit, Youth and FAA/IA Renewal. Additional seminars and workshops are held at the AOPA Special Activities tent, Paradise City, the FAA Safety Center and in WarBird Country.
After all the education introduction, you may want to use your newly found or seasoned skills in aviation. Register at www.sun-n-fun.org for an interview with one of fifteen (15) Aerospace Industry Employers. Their recruiters seek the best possible candidates for all aviation career fields at the Career Fair sponsored by JSfirm.com on Wednesday, April 22nd in Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum.
Aviation education experiences are offered year-round for students of all ages on the SUN ‘n FUN Convention Campus. Proceeds from any event at SUN ‘n FUN, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, are returned to STEM-based education programs and activities. Take time to visit Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum with your family.