Sun 'n Fun Fly in and Expo , Lakeland Florida

Sun 'n Fun Fly in and Expo , Lakeland Florida

Postby Anson on Sat 19 Dec 2015, 8:39 pm

Anyone have any expierience of this airshow , hints and tips ??, I believe they have different things going on evry day , Warbirds Day , aerobatics day etc :wink:
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Re: Sun 'n Fun Fly in and Expo , Lakeland Florida

Postby ikarus on Sun 20 Dec 2015, 12:03 pm

Hi Anson ,

I've been to Sun n Fun on about 4 occasions in the last 9 years. The content can be varied and not guaranteed. Its not a military show like RIAT , it's mainly private operated warbirds and lots of GA types , but it does get some military attendance. The show usually runs from Tues - Sunday.

Tuesday is usually good as far as arrivals go , you can get close to the runway by entering the homebuilt/experimental parking enclosure. Be warned that at
midday access to the runway edge parking areas is stopped so you must move back to a further distance and have parked aircraft in front of you. Lots of leg work is needed to cover the entire field , the content is changing all the time, i.e. when you start trawling the parking areas , aircraft are constantly coming and going pre/post aerial display time. Its simple to miss something parked in the hordes of parked aircraft and not realise it. This is especially true with aircraft visitors changing on a daily basis.

Thursday is normally the splash in event held at the former Fantasy of Flight facility at Polk - highly recommended and usually $10 entry fee , floatplanes and amphibians decant from Lakeland and go to this venue for a couple of hours but not all of them.

The transient aircraft parking ramp , whereby the larger types KC-135 , P3 , C-130's , display jets may park is open to the public until the display starts and then people are moved out of the area , so get to this area fairly sharpish to get any close up photos as it becomes barrier or roped off at that point.

Take plenty of water , a sun hat and sun crème , good walking boots are a must.

If you take photos , bear in mind all the parked aircraft have no barriers around them and patience is needed to get shots without the public touching and clambering over them and sitting under the wings :sad:

I would recommend Tuesday , Wednesday , Thursday (Splash In) and Friday. Don't bother with Sunday as most of the aircraft depart on Saturday as folk (owners) need to get home in time to be back at work on the Monday , so cannot risk delays en-route.

My tip combine with a 14 day holiday and keep the Sun N Fun bit for the mid part of the holiday , that way you don't need to sacrifice any part of the show due
to time constraints. Its only 50 miles from Orlando and the attractions.

Not Oshkosh by volume , but good if the weather is okay and traffic turns up , the problem is nothing is guaranteed ... :sad: but that's part of the attraction you don't know what will turn up , from DC7 , Turbo DC3 to Buckeye , Skyhawk (Jet) , F100 Super Sabre or F22.

A mega friendly bunch of organisers and staff , always happy to help , especially if they know you have travelled a long way to attend. Great trick for hitching a ride in the golf buggies :up: Make sure you sign in at the International Visitor Centre and wear your badge !!!

Any other info needed just drop me a pm ..good luck and enjoy
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Re: Sun 'n Fun Fly in and Expo , Lakeland Florida

Postby AlexC on Mon 21 Dec 2015, 12:02 pm

I haven't been to Sun 'n Fun, but I have been to Oshkosh which is similar I believe, but an even bigger event.
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Re: Sun 'n Fun Fly in and Expo , Lakeland Florida

Postby EGL on Mon 21 Dec 2015, 4:46 pm

ikarus wrote:My tip combine with a 14 day holiday and keep the Sun N Fun bit for the mid part of the holiday , that way you don't need to sacrifice any part of the show due
to time constraints. Its only 50 miles from Orlando and the attractions.

Wasn't planned, but that's what I'm aiming for next year. 2 week holiday already booked due to timing of school holidays next year so was delighted when I realised the date of this coincided with my holiday.

Is the schedule the same each year? Last year, the Wednesday was warbird day which would be my choice of days, is it likely to be the same this year? Wife is keen to have every day planned out so wanting to know which day we're going.

Also considering the weekend for a day too, but was thinking of waiting to see what was planned.

What about the Preferred Seating area - is it worth the extra? Thought it might be better for photography plus somewhere to keep this wife and kids enclosed! Kids would free as both 10 and under so wouldn't be paying for admission or the preferred seating, so overall cost probably still less than a UK show.
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Re: Sun 'n Fun Fly in and Expo , Lakeland Florida

Postby ikarus on Mon 21 Dec 2015, 6:23 pm


The schedule appears to vary, the website is pretty much accurate with regard possible aircraft attendees as the date gets closer. The list of military aircraft that may participate is sometimes populated at the last minute but don't rely on it , sometimes it says nothing. Saturday is okay , but I would give Sunday a miss personally , the day I went it was pretty deserted and much of the traffic had departed Saturday evening.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast , we visited during the freak Tornado a couple of years back , it put paid to a few of the exhibits but the staff did a superb job to keep the show going after the ensuing aftermath , many damaged aircraft on the field - on display ! If the weather is forecast to be bad for the week some private stuff /vintage/war birds just wont turn up.

I've never paid for the preferred seating , just took pot luck on the crowd line as I wandered around , the seating and proximity is not like FRIAT at Fairford or Farnbrough. Personally I wouldn't bother as some of the displays can be high and distant or in the case of the aerobatic types low ..... and you have a job dodging getting the crowd out of the eye line !!! In some respects you get a better view walking through the parked visiting GA toward the main runway area ,
although fenced off at the extremity we are talking about 3ft high plastic temporary mesh barrier , not the silly high metal stuff.

It can be really hot and exposed on the airfield with no shade - watch the kids don't fry , do what I do and leave the wife/kids at the rented villa /hotel around the pool for the day , and then go round the shopping malls in the evening ..... keeps her in doors happy
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Re: Sun 'n Fun Fly in and Expo , Lakeland Florida

Postby warferry on Tue 22 Dec 2015, 4:03 pm

Hi Anson I have been many times up to about 5 years ago, the vintage and classic aircraft along with the war birds main were the main attraction.
It was like a giant fly-in ,modern military low key attendance until recent times when the new organizers started to try and make it a more like a airshow.
This was to try and increase the turn out which had been falling off for some time.The war birds can be great with new restorations attending ,the war bird ramp a great place to hang round and gives a good view over the field.Depending your bag will dictate what you try and fit in.Various spots on crowd-line for photos see my old posts.

My plan every year was go the day before the opening, it was free, but that's not the point many arrive early and no crowds in the way of shots.
Then arrive early every weekday and stay until the fly-passes start once you have seen one day they are repeated. What days to go, WATCH "The weather channel"on TV it's superb and accurate, you can pick the best day for you, this includes you take note of WARNINGS,it vital have seen some bad happenings.
Hottest time of day is 17:00 approx ,as others said drink a lot. We then would visit the surrounding area fields as some visitors use then . Winterhaven can be good with Jack Brown's float-plane base over the back look up others, there are some close and Stallion 51 base friendly. Could go on but do your homework and enjoy.

Re: Sun 'n Fun Fly in and Expo , Lakeland Florida

Postby EGL on Wed 10 Feb 2016, 12:53 pm

For anyone not keeping an eye on their web-site, it's now been updated with a draft listing for each day - link

After discussions with SWMBO tickets booked for Saturday, with a potential visit on Wednesday/Wednesday evening on my own. :biggrin:

List's CAF Red Tails P-51 which after last weeks incident I presume won't be in attendance :sad:
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