EAA Warbirds President Jim “Zack” Olzacki sees the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo experience as not just a prelude to the rest of the summer’s fly-in season, but as a learning experience. “The best news of all,” he said, “is that Sun ’n Fun and everything they are learning from it becomes a template for AirVenture. The communication between EAA and Sun ’n Fun will help us identify what works; and if it doesn’t, we’ll modify it.”
Olzacki says EAA Warbirds members are more than ready to get back into the air and onto the air show and demonstration circuit. He said, “It’s clear to see that there’s a pent-up demand and people want to move on with their lives. It’s good news that things are improving on the home front, and that a lot of people getting vaccinations.
There’s no question, we’re well on our way back to the things we’re used to doing at AirVenture. As part of the “getting back” activity, the North American Trainer Association held its annual pre-Sun ’n Fun training clinic before the fly-in. Some 60 pilots and 30-plus North American-built aircraft participated in approximately 40 missions. Aircraft included T-6s, T-28s and Navions.
One “fun flight” included a C-47 leading a formation flight of 14 T-6s over downtown Lakeland. Flying the weekend before the show was largely scrubbed by weather, but the Monday before the gates opened was sunny, so practice flying resumed for the gaggle flight into Lakeland-Linder International Airport for the launch event of the air show season.