Sun ‘n Fun 2014: Aviation Inspiration

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Sun ‘n Fun 2014 was marked by seeing many clients who are doing amazing things. They inspire us to reach higher, give more and do more.

There’s no shortage of talk about how to bring a new generation into aviation, but at Sun ‘n Fun we met clients and young people who are doing it in a creative, inspiring way. Eagles Nest Projects, led by Ernie Butcher, helps high school students build a Vans RV-12 to get a hands-on introduction to aviation under the supervision of teachers and mentors.

Eagle’s Nest was created by Friends of the RV-1, a nonprofit group that’s a NationAir client. Eagle’s Nest has landed in nine high schools, most recently Clear Springs High School in League City, TX, through Ernie’s efforts.Three Eagles Nest planes flew to Sun ‘n Fun, and members of aerobatics group Team Aerodynamix flew the student-built planes as part of Sun n Fun’s showcase. Big congratulations to the student builders, it was great to see a number of them at Sun ‘n Fun. What an accomplishment and great introduction to the world of aviation!

Team Aerodynamix, the world’s largest aerobatics group that is made up solely of Van’s RV Aircraft, put on another outstanding night show. We had the best seat in the house, watching from the homebuilt camping area hosted by MaryJane Smith David, after her great dinner. If you have never attended this you are missing out! She puts on a dinner each night, every year. What a great way to catch up with fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts and meet new people. Many thanks to MaryJane for her hospitality and her efforts.

We also spent time with Sport Performance Aircraft and admired their prototype Panther, proudly insured by NationAir. This one-seat light sport experimental aircraft, featured on the cover of the February issue of Kitplanes, represents the next wave of homebuilt aircraft. We saw a lot of traffic at their booth. Kudos to the Panther team. They represent the passion and drive that makes general aviation, and homebuilders, so great.Overall, Sun ‘n Fun seemed well attended by good crowds of aviation enthusiasts to kick off the show season. While the homebuilt parking lot seemed a little light this year, the drive-in crowds were strong.

Next stop on the air show circuit: the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and STEM Expo May 3 and 4 at KSUS. NationAir is a show sponsor and will also be exhibiting. We’re excited about this show returning to our home airport, and looking forward to the Blue Angels performing, among other great attractions.

Until then, safe flying!
Jenny Estes  NationAir

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