Sun n Fun 2014

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Another Sun n Fun has come and gone.

I’ve been a regular attendee to the show since the late 1980s. When you live in the northeast, you really need to get away from the snow and head to Florida. Once you get past 10 years old, going to see Mickey Mouse loses its appeal and you need a better destination.   Beaches get boring and that only leaves airplanes as an attraction.

So Sun n Fun is a great place to be. This year was great in that the weather in the past always included a few rainy or overcast days.   Weather was PERFECT this year.

2 Hrutkay_SNF2014_Wed_Card25b__30D5183This event had so many high spots, it’s really impossible to mention them all. The photos show a lot of it. Maybe to me, the most interesting thing (and it wasn’t really an airplane) on the field was a Boeing 747 engine nacelle that was on wheels. Owned and built by 747 pilot (who else???) it was self propelled and had a first class lounge inside, with all the driving controls including a 747 seat on the top. The owner said he spent $50,000 building it or that’s what he admitted to his wife and its really something that attracts attention where ever it goes. He’s just one of those people with too much spare time on his hands.

Hrutkay_SNF2014_Thurs_Card23a__30D6737The Blue Angels attended and were in fine flying form, putting on their usual precise show. Aerobatics routines were flown everyday. Probably the biggest disappointment to me was that Larry King (not the talk show host) was circling the flag in the Model 12 Pitts again. Larry is one of the finest pilots what has ever turned an airplane upside down and should have been in the show. He told me he might get to fly in Sunday, but I missed the show since I was forced out by bronchitis. Kyle Franklin flew Dracula and Melisa Pemberton put on a great show. There were virtually countless other performers at the event. They even had the only flying BD-5 jet that I’m aware of in the show.

1 Hrutkay_SNF2014_Wed_Card24a__30D3018An unusual sight at the show was an Ultimate Aerobatics 200 flown by Dan Marcotte. This is a very rare, maybe 20 built, version of the Pitts Special. It came out in the late 1980s before airshows were taken over by monoplanes.   Dan put on a great performance and I’m sure that while the crowd appreciated it, the crowd appreciated it, they didn’t understand how special of a performance this actually was.   Things got worse after Dan got back to Vermont on April 18th.   During a post show test flight, the constant speed prop threw a blade and he had to bail out. Nothing funny here, but he ended up being rescued by the local fire department from 40′ up in a tree. The airplane crashed on a road and burned, with nothing left.   Dan was OK, saved by his Strong Brand parachute, but a rare plane was lost. Now, as a machinist, he’s building a jet car in his shop. Dan will be back sooner than later.

Hrutkay_SNF2014_Wed_Card26_Phase_CF003425Types of airplanes on the ramp was varied, but the quality was not. Jim Tobul brought his award winning Corsair.   Ron Fagen brought his award winning P-40. Jim Slatterty brought his award winning Tigercat. Gary Yelvington brought his award winning TF-51D. Can you see the pattern here? The ramps were full of award winning airplanes. Big or small there were so many award winning airplanes it wasn’t really funny.

But then that’s Sun N Fun. Great weather, great people, great airplanes, and a great airshow. That helps explain why at the end of the winter everyone who flies wants to come to Flordia. Well at least it’s one of the reasons.

You can contact the author Mark Hrutkay at TNMark1@GMail.Com

Mark Hrutkay

Mark has been a member of the International Association of Aviation Photographers (ISAP) for several years and attends all their events and seminars. He has won several awards for his work and has been published in several aviation magazines, domestic and foreign. You can contact Mark Hrutkay at TNMark@Me.Com.

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