Friday, March 18, 2011

Sun N Fun Dilemna

As most every pilot knows, the Sun N Fun airshow is fast approaching.

For those whose don't know, Sun N Fun is the 2nd largest airshow in the country (2nd only to Osh Kosh).

As luck would have it, this airshow is in Lakeland, FL, which is VERY close to my home base. In fact, flying direct from Tampa Exec Airport it is only 17.4 NM.

Each year, Sun N Fun is held at the Lakeland Linder Regional airport, and is dubbed "Spring Break for Pilots".

I am particularly looking forward to ths year because I missed last year! Usually each year, I try to attend at least one day (sometimes more).  But last year I didn't pay attention to the calendar and scheduled a vacation on a cruise ship the same week as Sun N Fun!

I learned my lesson! This year as I was making vacation plans, I made sure it didn't conflict with Sun N Fun.
In addition, I also made a concious effort to minimize my regular work travel that week.

So here is my dilemna...

Part of the fun and experience of an air show is the process of flying in. Two years ago, I was not comfortable enough in my flying skills to even attempt it.

But that was ~ 400 hours ago and nowadays I am feeling much more confident in my flying skills.

So I went to the Sun N Fun website to read the pilot briefing.

Most airshows have a 1 or 2 page pilot briefing and a very short NOTAM (Notice to Airmen). In short, it is usually a couple of basic procedures designed to maintain an orderly flow of aircraft.

But this airshow is in a different league! The NOTAM was a 43 page PDF file!! After reading through the WHOLE thing, I was starting to wonder if it was worth the time/effort/inconvience.

Part of me thinks the "journey" is the key element of the experience and I should definitely fly there. But then there is the nagging pragmatist in me that says it's only a 35 minute drive and faster to drive overall!

So I could really use some input.

Should I fly there or drive there??



  1. Fly!!! It's just like Oshkosh, the NOTAM is very detailed to accommodate the unusually high traffic volume... but that's just to keep things moving smoothly and safely.

    You're quite capable as a pilot, based on everything I've seen and read on here, and should have no issues flying in!

    My two cents...

  2. It's so worth it! It can be scary to see so many airplanes diverging on one spot at one time, but that's why there are 42 pages :) You've got the experience you should be just fine :)

  3. You should fly in, you definately have the experience. I gurantee after you fly in you will be happy with the decision you made and if you don't fly in when you get there you will most likely regret it. I myself am planning on driving because I rent aircraft and I only have a little over 100 hours total. Plus like you said for me it is only about a half hour drive.


  4. Thanks all for the supportive words! (I think I will fly in!)


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