Sun ‘n Fun’s Boeing 727 Used For More than Just Tours
The fully functioning Boeing 727 parked on Sun ‘n Fun’s Lakeland campus serves not only as a classroom, conference center and museum exhibit, but also as a safe environment to help individuals with disabilities familiarize themselves with the airline environment before travelling. Florida Air Museum personnel use the exhibit’s unique setup to allow people to experience the airline process beginning with entering the airport and continuing up through a full engine start. Jayme Jamison, Manager of Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum, told AVweb more about it in this podcast.
Officially called the Piedmont Aerospace Experience Exhibit, the aircraft was donated by FedEx and has been painted to resemble Piedmont Airlines’ Tampa Bay Pacemaker. The 727’s classroom space is used to introduce students from the Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA) and other local schools to aviation and airline flying. The classroom section is equipped with monitors connected with cameras positioned so students can observe what happens outside as aircraft systems are operated and in the cockpit as pilots (and students) run through checklists and get the engines started.
The plane was delivered in February 2013 and the exhibit opened in March 2016. With the help of donations, the aircraft spent those three years being transformed from decommissioned cargo carrier to showpiece and learning center. The Piedmont Aerospace Experience Exhibit is open for scheduled tours throughout the year.