Sun ‘N Fun Lines Up For Record Attendance


Following last year’s cancellation due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the annual Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo opened its doors to high ticket sales and sizable crowds on Tuesday. According to Sun ‘n Fun and Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) president John “Lites” Leenhouts, event ticket sales had reached around $1.2 million by Tuesday morning, surpassing the previous average of $900,000 in ticket sales at the opening of the show. In addition, 385 exhibitors are in attendance, a less significant drop than expected for one of the first in-person aviation events since the onset of COVID-19.

“We worked with our county officials, our city officials, our state leaders and the national CDC and we came up with what we figured is a really good set of protocols that gives everybody a chance to feel safe,” said Leenhouts. “Having said all that, the world is ready for an aviation event.”

Show organizers stated access to the grounds will not be limited by pandemic protocols. However, indoor spaces such as exhibit hangars will be kept to around half capacity. Sun ‘n Fun, which is the primary fundraising event for ACE, is taking place at Florida’s Lakeland Linder International Airport (KLAL) from April 13 through April 18.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. “…we came up with what we figured is a really good set of protocols that gives everybody a chance to feel safe.” Only in the USA, and especially in Florida it seems that “feeling safe” is thought to be sufficient to actually be safe, regardless of the science and common sense that tells us that Sun ‘ Fun is going to be a super-spreader. Want to see the latest gadget? So will everyone else at the same time. Will there be mask-police? Nah! It would be tough, and disappointing for sure to do the right thing including postponing once again until the vaccinations are essentially complete, and then requiring a certificate of vaccination for all attendees. Why go, while looking over your shoulder all the time wondering what virus cloud is about to descend on you, or if you are about to be an unintended spreader yourself? The latter thought is the socially responsible one. Having this event puts a lie to the concept that pilots as a group are generally a safety conscious crowd. $$$ before public responsibility, health and safety. Thanks, but I will wait until next year.

    • Pilots ARE safety conscious. We just evaluate and accept risk associated with any activity and act accordingly. With your logic stay out of Wal-Mart or any other store…or public place for that matter. Keep your fear mongering yourself. The way to handle you cancel culture people is to dispute your first statements by pointing out your hypocrisy and inaccuracy then ignoring you, then have a great time enjoying life.

    • I’ve received two Pfizer shots. Now, the CDC is advising fully vaccinated people to mask up, social distance, and avoid indoor activities with non-family participants.
      If I hadn’t yet been vaccinated, I might be asking “what’s the point?”
      Food for thought.

      • It’s actually pretty simple: until we reach herd immunity (75%+ vaccinated), the virus is still out there. No vaccine is 100% effective, so even if you’ve been vaccinated you can still be a carrier and thus spreader of the virus. Only herd immunity will finally put an end to the masking and social distancing. The trick is, will we reach that point BEFORE we get a variant which truly erodes the vaccine’s effectiveness, and thus effectively reset us all to March 2020.

        • Gary, it’s not simple at all.

          Only simpletons swallow simple solutions. Let me guess, a single “study” in the U.K. came up with that untested probability model with “the trick” of giving them a theoretical p factor of less than 0.5?

    • In the end… yes, you will die like everyone else…
      Be afraid, be very afraid 😱
      Those things with wings will kill you.

  2. Absolutely Yars.

    The pharmaceutical – government complex wants to remains in control of your behavior.

  3. Stay home David Macrae until Big Brother tells you it is OK to come out.

    We will allow you to live as you see fit.

    Please allow the rest of us the same consideration and tolerance.

    • I’m more interested in what Big Science says is safe to do, and for the moment it’s saying to hold out just a little longer before relaxing.

      SnF is going forward, so I just hope everyone who attends uses some social decency to mitigate spreading covid around and further extending an already-extended pandemic. In cases of global pandemic, individuals’ choices affect everyone. Be safe out there.

      • Gary, it’s a common logic flaw to assert that “consensus” has anything to do with the scientific method. So far, the science has shown that the consensus on this issue to be wrong. Wrong by 2 orders of magnitude.