Sun 'n Fun news, Ju-air to return, Army Flying Museum re-opens, BA'S retro colour schemes
The forty-fifth anniversary Sun ’n Fun International Flyin & Expo was held from 2-7 April 2019 at Lakeland Linder Airport, Florida. Its overall aircraft attendance roughly matched last year’s total and, while warbird numbers seemed down, XP-82 Twin Mustang 44-83887’s long-awaited first public appearance was a great coup. For their efforts (see March ‘Old Timers’) owner/ restorer Tom Reilly and his team at Douglas, Georgia, deservedly received the Grand Champion Warbird award.
WWII fighters were scarce but Thom Richard/warbird Adventures’ recently-restored Curtiss TP-40N N977WH American Dream stayed all week, giving passenger rides and, on some days, flying demonstrations. Missionary Flights’ DC-3TP Turbo Dakota was one of six DC-3/C-47S present: the others were promoting The D-day Squadron, whose mass transatlantic crossing starting from Oxford, Connecticut, on 18 May will mark the seventyfifth anniversary at Duxford and Normandy in early June.
Vietnam-era warbirds from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum at Addison, Texas, gave a flavour of the conflict with their SAR Demo featuring Douglas A-1H and EA1-E Skyraiders, a CV-2B Caribou ‘paratrooper’ jump with a Cessna O-2A Skymaster providing close air support. Rescuing the ‘wounded’, the museum’s UH-1H also undertook pleasure flights throughout the event. Its Special Ops-marked A-1H 52-139606 had a further role, partnering the Viper Demo Team’s F-16 as the USAF Heritage Flight. The Warbird Heritage Foundation’s T-2B Buckeye similarly linked up with a colourful T-45C Goshawk for the US Navy Legacy Flight.
A handful of classic jets on static display included several Aero L-39s, a former-nasa Learjet, and an ex-slovak AF MIG-21 that former owner Draken International has donated to the resident Florida Air Museum. Do 28A-1 N12828 also caught the eye. A diverselytasked example of Dornier’s distinctive STOL utility aircraft, it was initially operated by
Air Lloyd, next equipped the Lesotho Police Mobile Air Unit, and in 1987 joined Brian Woodford’s Wessex Aviation and Transport collection. Registered G-BNVW, the Do 28 remained in the UK for four years before being exported to the United States. Next owner Isle Royale Seaplane Services had a floatplane conversion planned but, having not won the necessary contract, nonetheless retained the aircraft for the next twenty years. Current owner Dan Fulwiler, who returned it to airworthiness, flew it all the way from Wisconsin for the show.
While full, the vintage parking area contained mostly 1950s and ‘60s designs and only a handful of pre-war antiques. Grand Champion Antique was Steve Zoerlein’s Waco UPF-7 NC32091, one of two on show. 1952 S-1A Cadet 90 N2922V was the Best Survivor, while Jeff Nelson’s superb 1946 clipped-wing J3C Cub topped the Piper category. There were at least seven Globe Swifts in attendance. All looked smart but GC-1B NC3824K was the judges’ Outstanding Classic, and Alon A-2 Aircoupe N5618F their Contemporary Class Grand Champion.
BT-13A Valiant N56319 scooped the Best Trainer award. The most interesting training aircraft was Richard Epton’s North American NA-64 Yale N314BT. This was built in 1940 for the French AF but, following the German occupation, was diverted to the Royal Canadian AF with which, as 3424, it served until 1946. Acquired by collector Ernest Simmonds and thence stored with his 38 other Yales in Tilsonburg, Ontario until 1970, it passed through numerous hands over the next forty-four years, being progressively restored along the way. Epton obtained 3424 in 2014. With its restoration completed by the Barnstormers Workshop at Williamson, Georgia, the Yale flew again in 2018.
Next year’s event, to be renamed the ‘Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo’, is scheduled for 31 March - 5 April.
ABOVE: the award-winning Twin Mustang took centre-stage on its public debut
BELOW LEFT: newlyairworthy TP-40N piloted by owner Thom Richard during one of its displays
BELOW RIGHT: historic Skyraider and modern F-16 link-up for the USAF Heritage Flight
Briefly Uk-based, Dornier 28A N12828 has an interesting history
Former RCAF Yale N314BT stood out amongst the trainers
The Cavanaugh Flight Museum’s Vietnam demo featured this Caribou para-drop
Tight US Navy 'Tailhook' pairing of Buckeye and Goshawk
This Waco UPF-7 was Grand Champion Antique
GC-1B NC3824K - an award-winning Globe Swift