Sun 'n Fun Fly-In 2019-2,000 miles of Zenith flying
By Sebastien Heintz
Here's my report of the 2019 Sun 'n Fun fly-in earlier this month (April 2 - 7) in Lakeland, Florida, with photos and videos of the trip to and from Lakeland from the Zenith Aircraft factory in Mexico, Missouri. Watch the videos for additional info (some with narration).
Listen in as Roger and Steve head for Florida in the STOL CH 750 Super Duty from the Zenith kit factory in central Missouri
Flying cross-country is not just about getting there, but about the journey and the stops along the way. We've been making the trip to Florida for many years and we enjoy the trip. Zenith planes are great for personal transportation and the flight getting there is often more memorable than the actual destination. We flew to Sun 'n Fun with three airplanes from the Zenith Aircraft kit factory in Mexico, Missouri: The STOL CH 750 Super Duty, the Zenith CH 750 Cruzer and the low-wing Zenith CH 650.
Crossing the Missouri River west of St Louis shortly after our morning departure. We left a day early for Florida because of incoming weather, wanting to stay ahead of the weather.
Flooded properties in the Mississippi Valley between Kentucky and Missouri. I just love the bubble doors of the high-wing Zenith aircraft for the amazing downward visibility!
Fuel stop in Union City, Tennessee
Again, enjoying the great downward visibility thanks to the bubble doors: A dam on the Tennessee River (with a lock and hydro-electric power generation).
Enjoying southern lunch at Cullman Regional Airport / Folsom Field (KCMD) airport restaurant: BLT with fried green tomatoes
After the late lunch we continued flying south to Auburn, Alabama (KAUO) where we spent the night.
The next morning, we continued south, stopping in Adel, Georgia (15J) for fuel and to visit with kit manufacturer Azalea Aviation.
Nice private grass runway on this small island!
Since we arrived in Florida early for the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In and Expo we stopped to visit with Herman and Amy Eshuis of Wheels and Wings at Massey Ranch (X50) in Edgewater, south of Daytona Beach
The following morning, we decided to visit the nearby Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral
Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex at Cape Canaveral
Zenith Aircraft demo pilot Roger Dubbert attempts to land the space shuttle simulator at Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Centre
Back at Massey Ranch Airpark, checking out the Viking's STOL CH 750 Super Duty powered by the turbocharged 180-hp Honda conversion
Listen in and watch as I approach Lakeland (KLAL) in the Zenith CH750 Cruzer to arrive at the 2019 SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In and Expo
The Zenith display at Sun'n Fun 2019
This was our office for the next week
Meeting with Able Flight pilots and future pilots
This Zenith CH 750 Cruzer kit (in the crate) will be built in the Buehler Restoration Centre at Sun 'n Fun following the fly-in by the Aerospace Centre for Excellence (ACE) and the Lakeland Aero Club high school flying club. The finished aircraft will be used (in part) to train future Able Flight pilots
Lakeland Aero Club high school flying club members check out the crated kit that they will be building soon (photo by Andy Ovans)
Zenith Aircraft planes at the Zenith booth while the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and the Blue Angels perform overhead.
The SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In and Expo is always a good place to check out new technology and products for light aircraft. Roger checks out the Brazilian Motorav engine
Free hands-on workshops and seminars at SUN 'n FUN allow visitors to learn more about building and flying their own aircraft
After hours, the Zenith staff being treated by locals. Thanks Mary and Mark for the outstanding hospitality!
The video of us taking off from Lakeland (KLAL) after Sun'n Fun 2019 and heading toward home. Roger and Steve in the Zenith STOL CH 750 Super Duty (with the UnPanel display)
We were busy throughout the week and were ready to head home by Monday morning.
We made a precautionary stop at Zephyrhills (KZPH) just north of Lakeland to check a rough-running engine that was quickly fixed thanks to support from UL Power and Herman Eshuis of Wheels and Wings. (We found a loose electrical connection to one of the fuel injectors.)
Overnight in Perry - Foley (40J in northern Florida) to wait out the storms
We stopped in Early Country Airport (KBIJ) in Blakely, Georgia to wait out weather
the dam on the Chattahoochee River in southern Alabama, south of Eufala
Enjoying the view, using my phone for navigation (running the Garmin Pilot app) and to take pictures
Wide-angle view inside the Zenith CH 750 Cruzer cabin
Flying home: Check out the video as brother Nick flies the sleek low-wing Zenith CH 650 while I fly overhead in the high-wing Zenith CH 750 Cruzer
Last fuel stop in Farmington, Missouri
Following the Missouri River, flying past Hermann, Missouri