AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 28

PILOT BRIEFING
EVENTS
POSTCARDS
|

|

AVIATORS DON'T USUALLY associ-

ate Santa Claus with the sunshine
and festivities of Sun 'n Fun. But in
these unprecedented times, even
old Saint Nick is using general aviation to get around. Santa and Mrs.
Claus arrived in a 1941 Stearman
PT-17 to greet eager-and somewhat skeptical-children. Once
they got over his nonstandard
arrival (where was the Rudolph-led
sleigh?), scores of youngsters lined
up to offer their Christmas wish lists
as their parents listened closely.

Spring break came early...or late
Sun 'n Fun campus holds December event
BY CHRIS EADS

28 | AOPA PILOT February 2021

automobile enthusiasts displayed classic
and muscle cars. A balloon glow accented a
twilight airshow that featured the U.S. Air
Force F-35 and F-16 Viper demo teams.
Between exhibitor aircraft, warbirds,
STOL competitors, and attendees flying
in from all over the region, approximately
350 aircraft arrived for the event, according to show officials. Aircraft camping sold
out with 100 participants. For those coming just for the day, low IFR conditions
on Saturday kept arrivals slow at first, but
ceilings eventually lifted, presenting a
beautiful cloudless sky for the STOL competition finals and the afternoon airshow.
On Saturday morning, John " Lites "
Leenhouts hosted AOPA President
Mark Baker and Experimental Aircraft
Association Chairman Jack Pelton for an
engaging conversation on the state of general aviation in a pandemic. Much of the
conversation centered on the future of
aviation events, with the three executives
sharing their organization's plans for 2021.
Leenhouts promised Sun 'n Fun will take

place in April 2021. Pelton also emphasized
EAA's commitment to hosting Air Venture
2021, and Baker explained AOPA's plans to
conduct a series of AOPA Pilot Gathering
Air Tours to visit pilots at nearly two dozen
events across the nation next year.
" General aviation is alive and well, "
Baker said. " Aircraft sales are fantastic right
now, people are doing flight training, flight
schools around the country are busier than
they've ever been...people are turning to
general aviation more and more. "
Organizers of the holiday fly-in emphasized the entirely outdoor nature of the
event, which allowed attendees to spread
out as the pandemic continues. Attendees
were encouraged to practice appropriate
health safety protocols. Greg Gibson, chief
marketing officer for Sun 'n Fun, estimated
between 4,000 and 7,000 people were in
attendance over two days, and he indicated
interest in continuing to hold this holiday
event in future years.
EMAIL chris.eads@aopa.org

CHRIS EADS

SUN 'N FUN IS USUALLY CALLED a " spring
break for pilots " and heralds the start of
the summer flying season. Santa Claus and
Christmas are not what typically come to
mind. But 2020 wasn't a typical year. Not
to be deterred by the year's sweeping cancellations of aviation events nationwide
in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,
the leadership of the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace
Expo seized upon the holiday season and
Florida's mild early winter weather to host
what may have been the largest aviation
event of 2020...anywhere.
On Friday and Saturday, December 4
and 5, several thousand people converged
on the campus of the fly-in and expo for a
socially distanced outdoor festival that drew
together elements familiar to both fly-ins
and local holiday events. While nearly 70
backcountry flying experts competed for
the shortest landings on the Lakeland Aero
Club's grass airstrip, Santa and Mrs. Claus
made their own arrival at show center in a
PT-17 to collect Christmas wish lists from
scores of eager children. More than 200



AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 10
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 12
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 20
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 24
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 26
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 28
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 30
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 32
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 34
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 36
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 41
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 44
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 50
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 67
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover4
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