And it is that time of the year again… Sun N’ Fun for the 6th time.
This year was a little difficult decision to go or not to go for two reasons. One, that I had a big running race scheduled for the same weekend, but I decided earlier this week that due to my foot injury I will just cancel. The other one was that this was the first year to go alone. In the past I went with my ex-boyfriend who is no longer in my life but I really wasn’t sure how much I will miss his aviation enthusiastic personality. I deep inside was not even sure if I just liked this shows because of him or because I liked them as well. But I am super happy that I went, because I discovered that my love for airplanes, flying and aviation has absolutely nothing to do with him. Sometimes emotions are scary until we found out that there is nothing behind those feelings. This is the emotional part of my one day trip and now here are the details and my wonderful experience this year.
I signed up for a volunteer shift long time ago, and I had to be in the International Tent at 9am. I woke up at 3:30am, packed some food and throw my flight bag in the car and I was off by 4am. It’s a long and boring drive. I did regret many times on my way there that I did not follow my pilot friend and mentor’s advise to read the NOTEM and fly in.
When I arrived I got a very close parking spot – it was early and I reported at the will call, where they could not find my credentials, so they just let me in anyway.
As soon as I arrived to the International tent and I introduced myself, I run into a older Gentleman speaking with a heavy German accent. We instantly made friends since I spent some time in Germany and I spoke his language. Karl was extremely nice, and I discovered that he actually owns a Katana (DA20) in Germany and its call sign was N841DF. Just a little history here, my trainer I solo’d and later I traveled to the Bahamas and Panama city and had many many fantastic experience and even more landings and finally forced landed was N840DF. What a coincident!
This is Karl and me:
I worked a few hours than Karl took me out for lunch. After lunch he offered me to give me a tour. I really wanted to go and talked to the BOSE guys since my headset was falling apart and I need a new replacement part. When I talked to them on the phone they said it would cost around $250 to have it fixed and would take 2 weeks but I kept putting that off, because I found it expensive and too long. But what I did not know that at Sun N Fun they fix headsets right there and for free. When the Lady told me I can come back and pick it up in 2 hrs and won’t cost anything I had to go and hug her. I will NEVER buy any other headset but BOSE. They made me a customer for life. When I went to pick up not just they replaced the cord but put brand new cushions on it. Now I have a brand spanking new headset. Sooo Happy.
After lunch and the tour we returned to the International Tent and I continued working. I enjoyed welcoming pilots all over the world and making them sign in and register.
Later I grabbed one of the other volunteer guy, Roberto and we walked around the hangars. No big changes, nothing much new, except an interesting electrical machine it prevents corrosion. I learnt some physics from the salesman, interesting, although they won’t give any guarantee for their $1200 (show price $800) equipment.
I got myself a pretty black shirt with a compass rose on it, and for me and my pilot friend Balazs one of those collectible Metal Works a Cessna172. I already have a P51 and a Pitts, this is a nice addition.
After hanger walks we returned to the International Tent and worked an other hour maybe when Karl came with his golf cart, picked me up and took me back to his camp site. I had two beers and made friends with many pilots. They invited to stay through the night but I promised Charlie that I will stop by at his house on the way home so I had to leave. They made me promise that next year I will stay with them for at least a evening, what I defiantly will do. They seemed a bunch of fun pilots, a nice new group to join.
This was a short but awesome Sun N Fun visit this year. Learnt new things and made new friends. Had a blast.