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Sun 'n Fun Begins Tuesday

Final preparations wrapping up at Lakeland

Sun 'n Fun
Katie Mundt, EAA marketing account manager, and Barry Elk, director of EAA membership marketing, finish hanging up a sign for the EAA Student Membership and EAA AeroScholars programs in the EAA Member Village. Stop by and visit with them to find out more about those and other EAA programs.

Sun 'n Fun
Already Monday morning a group of flight instructors had gathered to share stories and answer questions for fellow instructors or student pilots.

Sun 'n Fun
JoAnn (left) and Sandy Hill are ready to welcome you at the headquarters of the National Association of Flight Instructors.

Sun 'n Fun
Van's Aircraft RV-12 is sporting a bright red paint scheme in Van's booth.

Sun 'n Fun
The Cessna SkyCatcher was looking a tad lonely on the front lawn of the Cessna Center, but you can bet it's big brothers and sisters will have joined it before Bruce Keller rings the triangle Tuesday at 9 a.m. to announce that "Cessna is open." It's become a Cessna tradition.

Sun 'n Fun
With a reported five inches of rain in the past couple of days, the grounds are little muddy here and there . we think this gecko was welcoming us, not seeking higher ground. But the sun is shining and forecast looks good for the rest of the week, so come on down to Sun 'n Fun, which runs Tuesday through Sunday.

Sun 'n Fun
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, more commonly known as the Thunderbirds, arrived at the Sun 'n Fun Monday around noon. They'll be on static display throughout the week, capped by two air show performances during the afternoon air shows Saturday and Sunday.

April 7, 2008 — "Ahhh.sunshine and heat! It's been a long time since we felt that," said EAA News/Web Editor Ric Reynolds this morning when we (Rose Dorcey, Ric, and I) stepped out of the car on the Sun 'n Fun grounds at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

Yes, after the long winter of 2007-08, we Wisconsinites aren't complaining about our assignment to cover the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In. Throughout the week we'll bring you daily web updates and gather material for our upcoming issues of the magazines. But, we remind our compatriots back home in Oshkosh: This is indeed work.

Other EAA staffers were busy putting the finishing touches on the displays in the EAA Member Village. Stop in and say hi to your fellow members if you come to Sun 'n Fun. You can renew your membership, check out the new online calendar of events, get an insurance quote, find out about the EAA Affinity Visa Card from U.S. Bank representatives, visit with Aviation Specialist Timm Bogenhagen, or just say "hi" to some friendly folks. You can also purchase advance tickets for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 - do so and receive a free copy of Oshkosh: The Spirit of Aviation DVD.

Across the way at the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) tent, you can find out about flight instructing issues.or about learning to fly. They're up and running and ready to visit with you.

What have we seen so far on the grounds? Driving in, I spotted a little yellow ultralight-looking machine parked in Paradise City. Before the morning was out, I had to assuage my curiosity. Turns out it is indeed an ultralight.but it doesn't have a name as yet. For now Paul Mather and the gang at M-Squared are calling it the "X-Plane."

"We'll be taking deposits for the machine, priced at $14,995 ready to fly, this week, and the first 25 people to make a deposit will have the opportunity to name the aircraft. You buy it; you name it," Mather said.

That's right, there's a true ultralight in Paradise City.and it's sporting a new engine as well - a 35-hp rotary engine from Revolutionary Rotary Engines of Ontario, Canada. Mather said the engine block weighs 42 pounds, but with a gear box and pull starter (no electrical system; it's an ultralight, remember) it weighs 80 lbs. And it's liquid cooled and operates in similar rpm ranges as Rotax engines. We'll find out more about this engine before the week is out.

In the main exhibit area, Van's Aircraft's RV-12 was already attracting attention, and the Cessna SkyCatcher was sitting center stage in front of the Cessna pavilion.

Then suddenly, just about noon, I heard the sound of roaring F-16s that caused me - and everyone else on the grounds, to pause and look up: the Thunderbirds had arrived! Following several thrilling fly-bys, the Fighting Falcons landed and parked on static display, where they'll remain until they perform later in the week.

With nearly five inches of rain in the past two days, the grounds are little muddy here and there, but the sun is shining, and folks are already having fun. Shouldn't you be here, too?

- Mary Jones

This is the as-yet unnamed true ultralight soon to be available from M-Squared. It's powered by a 35-hp rotary engine from Revolutionary Rotary engines. The liquid-cooled engine weighs 80 lbs., less oil, and operates in rpm ranges similar to Rotax engines. We'll find out more about this engine before the week is out.

Sun 'n Fun

Sun 'n Fun

Sun 'n Fun
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