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PHOTOS: Sun N Fun 2016 Wraps Up Another Successful Fly-In & Expo

PHOTOS: Sun N Fun 2016 Wraps Up Another Successful Fly-In & Expo

Story by: Mike Killian

Photos by: Mike Killian & John Studwell

April 12, 2016

Another SUN N FUN International Fly-In & Expo is a wrap in central Florida. The 42nd annual event, which was presented this year by VISIT FLORIDA and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, went off from April 5 – April 10 in Lakeland, which is conveniently located on a major traffic corridor between busy Tampa and Orlando.

This year’s theme was “Honoring Our Armed Forces”, with each day dedicated to each branch of the armed forces. Daily airshows, beautiful and comfortable weather all week, over 500 exhibitors, a Kids Zone play area, various tours, displays, lots of food & drinks / BBQ, car shows, evening entertainment and fireworks all welcomed visitors.

Sun n Fun 2016_Younkin 1

Sun N Fun’s annual Fly-In & Expo is their largest fundraiser of the year, with proceeds supporting the Aerospace Center for Excellence STEM education programs, including nearly a half-million dollars in scholarships for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to pursue aviation careers.

Air show performers included the Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor Demo, F/A-18 Super Hornet, US Army Golden Knights, Red Bull Air Race World Championship Demo, Michael Goulian, Kirby Chambliss, Patty Wagstaff, AeroShell and the France-based Breitling Jet Team (among many others).

Sun n Fun 2016_Night 1

April 9 crowds were treated to both a day and night show, with the likes of Matt Younkin, Jerry “JIVE” Kerby in “Wild Blue” and Gene Soucy performing aerobatics while shooting off pyros. A fantastic fireworks show finished off the night.

The USAF F-25A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter made its first Sun N Fun appearance this year too, as a static display but not performing a demo. A B-17 Bomber offered rides to paying visitors as well.

In between the day and night shows April 9 I had the honor of going on a sunset 4-ship air-to-air shoot with Jason Noll of Dream Scheme Designs ( to produce some new images for the company.

Sun n Fun 2016_26

Joining him in formation was Will Allen Airshows in the Pitts S2B, Scott Farnsworth in the XtremeAir XA-42, Andrew Findlay in the One Moment Air Racing Lancair Super Legacy and Jason Noll leading in his Dream Scheme Designs RV-4.

All 4 planes are Dream Scheme designed (see photos below).

Thanks to Jason Noll for the opportunity to work together, and thanks to the expert piloting behind our Bonanza photo ship by Michael Turner!

Things are already underway for planning Sun N Fun 2017, which will be headlined by the US Navy Blue Angels. The USAF Thunderbirds are anticipated to return in 2018.

For more information visit

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Twitter: @SunNFunFlyin

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Photos Courtesy of Mike Killian & John Studwell, all rights reserved.

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Mike Killian
Photojournalist at Aviation Photography Digest
Mike Killian is a spaceflight & aerospace / aviation photojournalist who currently calls Florida's "Space Coast" home, where America's launch pads are his office as Managing Editor for the online daily space-news magazine AmericaSpace. Over the years his assignments have brought him onboard NASA's space shuttles, front row for launches of spacecraft to other worlds, in clean rooms with Mars rovers, in the skies producing air-to-air photography and videography with civilian and military aircraft, pulling G's with air show performers like World Champion Aerobatics pilot Rob Holland, the GEICO Skytypers and U.S. Navy Blue Angels, and on space-launch range clearing Pave Hawk missions with the Air Force (to date the only photojournalist to do so).

In the time since, Killian's work has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, National Geographic, NBC News, CNN, BBC, Weather Channel, and has been used by organizations such as the Air Force, NASA, Airbus, SpaceX, Boeing, National Park Service, Go Pro, hotel chains and various magazines and websites.

Mike also volunteers as a team photographer / videographer with Thom Richard and his Florida-based Precious Metal / Hot Stuff air racing teams, and keeps busy elsewhere producing articles and imagery for several publications and various marketing and advertising campaigns for several companies.

Mike can be reached at: [email protected]
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