AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 43

PHELAN M. EBENHACK

AIRSHOWS

However, between work (pre-pandemic intensity) and the drive time to
Republic Airport (FRG) in Farmingdale,
New York, where he trained, it took him
nearly five years to get his certificate.
" I live in Brooklyn, and I trained out of
KFRG, which is 38 miles away but reached
by the notorious Long Island Expressway.
It's easily an hour each way when the traffic is good (which it rarely is) and usually
it is 90 minutes or more to get there and
the same to get back. Each lesson lasted
approximately two hours, so every lesson
door-to-door was a five-plus-hour commitment. And I tried to train at least twice
a week. So that was very hard to accomplish with a full-time work schedule, and
there were periods where I didn't fly for six
months at a time. "
Nonetheless he persevered and jumped
into aviation with as much passion as
his career. He used rental aircraft from
Republic to get to shows across the East
Coast. " The northeast is home to several
highly acclaimed summer theater festivals
and over the last few years I've flown to
the Williamstown Theater Festival (AQW),
the Berkshire Theater Festival (GBR), NY
Stage & Film (POU), and the Provincetown
Theater (PVC), " he said. " Being able to get
up in the morning, fly somewhere to have
lunch and see a matinee, and then fly home,
has been a great experience and helped me
see shows I normally wouldn't have gotten to see if I was limited to just driving. "
And, when in California, he rented aircraft
in Santa Rosa at the Charles M. Schultz
Sonoma County Airport (STS).
" I am currently using the Covid
shutdown of Broadway to get my IFR rating. My commute to FRG has dropped to
45 minutes! " he said.
And when will we all get back on
Broadway to see shows? " Rumors say
fall 2021, but it's definitely not before
Labor Day and the really big shows maybe
December, " he said. " The rest of Broadway
in 2022-the bridge and tunnel crowd. "
(That's you and me, non-NYC friends.)
EMAIL julie.walker@aopa.org

|

'Follow everyone in'
Sun 'n Fun attendance shocks everyone

THE AEROSHELL AEROBATIC TEAM performs in the night airshow; a P-51 Mustang flies in

formation with a pair of F-22 Raptors (above); a Beechcraft T-34 Mentor taxies to the
runway (below).

AVIATION ENTHUSIASTS from all over the
country gathered in Lakeland, Florida,
April 13 through 18 at the Lakeland Linder
International Airport to celebrate their
shared passion for flight in true Florida
fashion. Beautiful blue skies, calm winds,
and warm temperatures welcomed the
crowd back after COVID-19 restrictions
canceled general aviation events in 2020,
including Sun 'n Fun and EAA AirVenture
in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
John " Lites " Leenhouts, Sun 'n Fun president and CEO, told AOPA Editor Kollin
Stagnito that he was " ecstatic " over the
attendance at the 47th annual event. " This
is absolutely unbelievable, " Leenhouts said.
" We never, ever expected to have this large of
a turnout; it may be a record-setting event. "
This after cancelation of the 2020 event
and consideration just two months prior to
this year's to reconsider even putting on
the annual show. The staff had anticipated

a 25-percent reduction in attendance but
were proven wrong. Camping sites sold out,
the event staff had to add two more parking
areas, and a record number of aircraft stayed
from Monday through the conclusion on the
show on Saturday. " We moved the cows and
opened an additional seven to eight acres
to accommodate campers, " Leenhouts said.
Leenhouts remarked on the weekend
attendance as local Florida residents are
offered a buy Saturday, get in Sunday free
pass. " We've never seen that kind of activity. There were 10,000 cars in the parking
lot; that means a minimum 35,000 to 40,000
people on Saturday alone, " he said.
" The skies were clear and the pathway
to get in was open. We had a board member
refuel in Knoxville, take off, and be told by
ATC to 'follow everyone else,' " Leenhouts
said. " I've never seen anything like this; the
world is open for business. "
flysnf.org

aopa.org/pilot AOPA PILOT | 43


http://www.flysnf.org http://www.aopa.org/pilot

AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021

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

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 7
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover4
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