Sun 'n Fun 2003 Image Gallery Days 3 and 4

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EAA Sun 'n Fun opened on a strong note April 2, and into the weekend gained attendance and momentum as the fans of aviation's spring fling adjusted to the new Wednesday-through-Tuesday pattern adopted this year. But despite the schedule alteration, the best parts of Sun 'n Fun remained unchanged: Plenty of ultralights in Paradise City, swarms of custom-built planes, vintage warbirds, golden-era aircraft and just plain planes -- by the thousands.

Of course, AVweb is there to capture the sights, sounds and news of the 29th annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, including our Special Projects Editor Dave Higdon. Here's a glimpse of what he saw through the camera lens as of Saturday.

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With opening day still two days away, campers wait in line to check in and register early with hopes of staking out a choice campsite for the weeklong fly-in.
These early birds enjoy a front-line spot from which to watch other pre-fly-in arrivals flow into Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

Opening the opening-day air show brings a little stars-and-stripes action out of the sky with the traditional flag jump in front of an attentive crowd.
The three passengers in this open-cockpit biplane enjoy a tour around the skies as do hundreds of others every day of the weeklong fly-in.

Seaplanes come in all varieties, as evidenced by this collection of experimental and factory amphibians with both piston and turbine engines.
An amphibious trike and a Zenair 701 STOL on amphibious floats launch together from Lake Parker as part of the float-plane flying action during the Seaplane Splash.

Little flyers do their own version of first flights in peddle-powered versions of the Wright Flyer in the EAA Countdown to Kitty Hawk Pavilion -- and endure their own version of traffic congestion.
Among the tens of thousands to visit the EAA's 24,000-square-foot Countdown to Kitty Hawk pavilion is this youngster and his father, just two of thousands to try their hand flying one of three Wright Flyer simulators during their visit.

Sun 'n Fun president John Burton and VP Greg Harbough applaud after the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service's First Flight Commemorative Stamp.
Members of the FAA's Sun 'n Fun Air Traffic Control Team serve up burgers, dogs, slaw and potato salad during their annual barbeque cookout that ends the first day of the Lake Parker Arrival procedure -- this year, a Monday-night event.

The B-25 bomber "Panchito" roars to life in preparation for an opening-day maintenance flight.
The B-25 bomber "Panchito" launches from Runway 9 at Lakeland on a flight in preparation for its participation at the fly-In.

A stealthy surprise comes on Saturday morning with the arrival of an F-117 Stealth Fighter in the pattern along Runway 9/27.
On the prowl, the veteran Mustang "Crazy Horse" demonstrates for the crowds why the P-51 was the top gun for air combat during World War II.

Nearly 40 hot-air balloons kick off a sunny Saturday with a mass asenscion and a bit of flag-waving for the crowds.
A Lockwood Air Cam flies short final to the Paradise City grass strip.

Yaks, Cessnas, high wings, low wings, the friendly skies of Sun 'n Fun offer "bird watchers" plenty to see as planes continued to flow into the fly-in well into the weekend.
Originally built by Sweden's Theliot in 1918, this 1910-design Bleriot XI may be the oldest airplane flying today, thanks to the restoration work of pilot Mikael Carlson.
Viewed from below, the airframe and covering details of this 1918-built version of the 1910 Bleriot XI shows dramatically how much bracing and wiring early aircraft required.

This innovative builder adapted a three-cylinder Geo Metro engine to power his otherwise stock CGS Hawk light sportplane; the Hawk is landing on the Paradise City strip.
New Piper chairman Chuck Suma unveils the company's newest model, the PA-32 6X, which the company introduced along with its turbocharged companion, the 6XT. The two models are essentially Saratogas on fixed gear.
Traffic gets busy during the evening flying period set aside for the powered parachute pilots at Paradise City light-aircraft runway, but there's seldom any conflicts thanks to the low speed of these basic aircraft.