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Event Report
Event Reports - Sun 'N Fun 2005

Thursday, April 14
Sun 'N Fun 2005
Created: 04/14/2005
Updated: 04/21/2005
Link(s): N/A
Article by Mike Whaley
Thursday was a busy day, with beautiful weather. The only hitch in the day was when a T-6 managed to ground-loop on a taxiway near the end of the day... nobody was hurt but the plane suffered significant damage and takeoff/landing operations had to be moved to a taxiway for a couple of hours while the plane was hoisted up so it could be towed off the runway. KLAL actually had to be closed for about 10 minutes between sunset and the re-opening of the runway. We were listening to air traffic control at the end of the day, who were handling a landing about every 45 seconds. ATC communications at Sun N Fun are mostly one-way, except when the controller specifically asks a plane to reply. Generally, though, traffic control is nothing like what you're used to hearing. A decent paraphrase of the conversation would run like this: "Yellow Cub, you're fourth to land behind the blue T-6. I want the T-6 to turn a hard left onto the downwind right now. Everybody, fly as far down the skinny little runway as you can, the farther you fly the shorter you taxi. We're all going for the taxiway of 27 Right, wou're all doing great, hot damn you're all doing a great job today. The KR-2 about to touch down, you've got 4,700 feet of runway to go before the turnoff, I need you to get down there as fast as possible for a T-33 on short final right behind you. Yellow Cub, follow the T-6 onto the downwind. Cessna Skymaster, stretch your downwind out for about another 10 seconds before turning base, you're behind a Pitts and a T-33. Red Knight, please give a quick shot of smoke for the Skymaster. Thank you. You're all doing a great job today and making this look easy, you all deserve a beer tonight. Skymaster, do you see the T-33, please go ahead and respond." "Roger, jet's in sight and I can use that beer about now." "Thanks, better land first though. Just go on and turn when you're clear, and follow the biplane in. Remember, when you folks get over the runway, you need to go long, long, long, just like a Hail Mary pass in the Super Bowl. Long-EZ, turn right for downwind and follow the Yellow Cub one mile ahead of you, watch out for overrunning him, I don't think he can go much faster. KR-2, you've still got 4,500 feet to go. Red Knight, lookin' good. Skymaster, the farther down you land the closer the beer is. Yellow Cub, ..." And so it went, the controllers calling out directions that sounded almost like an auctioneer. "Glasair, Glasair, turn base, turn base, turn base, turn now, now, now... sold American!"

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We had quite a few visitors in the tent.  
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The tent was pretty busy.  
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The 5-cylinder radial prototype drew a great deal of interest.  
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George Coy discusses radial engines with some interested passers-by.  
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Rob's beautiful Skybolt/Firebolt was admired by many people.  
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Barrett makes a high-speed run while David narrates.  
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Like Barrett's Pitts, the Skybolt can produce either a solid or "staccato" smoke trail. We are still adjusting it to get a clean shut-off (it was just installed a couple of weeks ago), but here you can get a glipse of its potential.  
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A Navy N3N flies by. This plane was used for the initial training of many thousands of pilots before, during, and even after WW2.  
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Randy Harris of Bearfeat Aerobatics flies a highly-modified 300hp Skybolt through some grueling, yet beautiful maneuvers.  
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Randy takes the Skybolt through its paces.  
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The larger size of the Skybolt and the beautiful and elegant color scheme make it easy to see.  
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Here, Randy flies through a 360 degree flat turn.  
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The Legend Cub flies overhead. Pretty!  
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The mid-morning rotorcraft flyby time was interesting. The gyrocopters flying overhead gave one a vague sense of being in a James Bond movie.  
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Not everything at SNF is aviation-oriented. This unique little BMW Iseta was beautifully restored to better-than-new condition.  
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Nearly everyone walking by just had to stop and stare at this tiny little car. In true SNF fashion, it was left unlocked for display with little worry about sustaining anything worse than some noseprints on the windows.  
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T-28s await their turn in the warbird airshow. Each year, the color schemes for these planes seem to get more and more varied.  
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A rare two-seat trainer conversion of the Spitfire was on display. Unfortunately, it didn't participate in the flying parts of the airshow.  
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This rare P-40 was a welcome sight. It just wouldn't be the same plane without the shark teeth!  
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Lee Lauderback has added a second TF-51 to his stable. Nearly identical to the familiar "Crazy Horse", "Crazy Horse 2" has a polished, bare-metal fuselage while the first one is painted silver.  
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The first part of the airshow was dedicated to Warbirds... they were eveerywhere.  
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The finale of the Warbirds section of the show was the traditional Missing Man formation in tribute to all the airmen, soldiers, and sailors who lost their lives while serving their country.  
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The Aeroshell team are sort of like the Thunderbirds of the warbird aerobatic world. Their formations are always quite close and rock-steady, and their showmanship is supreme.  
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What could be better than a Pitts? TWO of them!  
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This B-25 sure was an eye-catcher.  
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A nice pair of O-1 Bird Dogs came in together.  
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There are probably more authentic and unused color schemes available for the O-1 than almost any other warbird out there.  
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This is a seat inside the Sikorsky S-39 "Osa's Ark". This plane appeared briefly in the film "The Aviator."  
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This Cessna T-37 demonstrated why it's often referred to as "The World's Largest Dog Whistle"..  
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The Red Knight T-33 takes off for a short flight/photo op.  
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The Red Knight flies by with smoke on.  
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The T-33 comes back as the sun sets.  
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Poor coyote just can't win.  
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A Pistol-Packin' Mama if ever there was one.  
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You know, the Thunderbirds scheme looks pretty good on a Long-EZ...  
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Note the stiff, direct crosswind. The landing was a little bouncy as a result, but they got it down safely.  
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This Pitts S2-B was hopping rides for those who wanted to try out aerobatics.  
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Near the end of the day, a T-6 ran off the taxiway and collapsed the gear, suffering damage to a wing. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. Air traffic was shifted to a taxiway while they worked to get it off the runway.  
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Right at sunset, crews were able to get the T-6 towed off the runway. Since the taxiway can't be used as a runway after sunset, there were about 15 minutes when the airport was closed down while awaiting the go-ahead to re-open the main runway.  
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The sun sets over a T-6.  

Other entries in this series:
     Get Ready... Sun 'N Fun is Coming!    April 6, 2005
     Monday, April 11    April 11, 2005
     Tuesday, April 12    April 12, 2005
     Wednesday, April 13    April 13, 2005
      » Thursday, April 14    April 14, 2005
     Friday, April 15    April 15, 2005
     Saturday, April 16    April 16, 2005
     Sunday, April 17    April 17, 2005
     Monday, April 18    April 18, 2005
     Bonus Photos    April 19, 2005
     Best Of: Part 1 of 4    April 20, 2005
     Best Of: Part 2 of 4    April 21, 2005
     Best Of: Part 3 of 4    April 22, 2005
     Best Of: Part 4 of 4    April 23, 2005

If you have any additions or corrections to this item, please let us know.

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