Day 8 of our adventure found us at the great Sun 'N Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida. This is one of the largest gatherings of airplanes in the world with many interesting things to see.
After we got on the ground the CJ-5/6/Yak-52 Red Star group flew overhead in a very nice formation.
Yes, I have a picture of Bob, too, but for this shot I wanted to focus in on his hat. It seemed a proper symbol for the many women and men like Bob Mason who put in long hours volunteering year after year to make air shows work. Thanks to all of you!
For a guy from Minnesota, it was awfully hot for the first week in April. Many folks agreed and sought shelter under the wings of parked airplanes, like this "Bamboo Bomber" otherwise known as the Cessna T-50, as well as about half a dozen other names.
There were a number of warbirds at the event, including this pristine Bearcat. No bombers showed up which was disappointing. Due to high gas prices, the big warbirds may have decided to stay home this time around.
A boy poses for a picture while poking up through the top window on one of three DC-3s that were at the show.
A Grumman Albatross.
There were plenty of great air show performers strutting their struts. Bill Gordon and Billy Segalla of Iron Eagle Aerobatics put on a fun show.
The Fly-market had some interesting items for sale, lots of dreams, some of them broken.
A fire in the parking lot added some unwanted drama to the day. I was relieved to discover that it was a car fire, rather than an airplane crash.
The authentic paint job on this Bucker Jungmeister caused this man to give the owner a bit of heat. He considered the Nazi swastika to be an obscenity. I asked the owner if he got this sort of grilling all the time, and to my surprise he said it was the first time in six years.
This Ryan PT-22, flown by John Nordt, was my favorite plane at the show, part art deco dream, part wind-up propeller toy.
The T-28s put on a good show before they even left the ground.
Debriefing is always part of any formation flight. The T-6 pilots gathered to discuss their fly-over of the day.
A shiny Globe Swift sparkles in the late afternoon sun.
The DC-3 "Flagship Detroit" lumbers down the taxiway, as two gentleman sit in the shade of a Blue Angels-painted L-39. The idea of a Russian-made plane with Blue Angels markings, has me puzzled just a bit.
An AC-47 faces a few young whipper snappers in the form of an F-15 Eagle, and an F-18 Hornet. Due to the complexity and expense of operating these jets, the 50-plus-year-old AC-47 may still be flying, when the other two have become static displays up on some pole.
From its markings, this Grumman OV-1 Mohawk served in Operation Desert Storm and has now retired from active duty and moved into the civilian world of warbirds.
Jon Hamilton gases-up his T-28A in preparation for the jaunt up to Leeward Air Ranch, for a warbirds fly-in and barbeque. We all took off a short time later, and for our little band of four at least, we said goodbye to Sun 'N Fun and began the journey home.
Part 1- The Trip DownPart 2- FAST ClinicPart 3- The Fly-InPart 4- Leeward and Northward

For more images from Sun 'N Fun see the OUTTAKES