Leaving neither the Sun nor Fun Behind

Thursday 12th April 2018

As per every other day so far, rise and shine was around 0330 local. This allowed plenty of time for a quick shower and dismantling, and packing, of the BZIM, whilst the majority around slept. The BZIM located away from the Paradise City air-side area, which meant pushing it and dragging it from the camping area towards the runway. This was one aspect of the Paradise City area that could be improved. I had hoped to camp under the wing and fly during the day. That would only happen if I was willing to drag the microlight around. Not ideal in the Florida heat.


A balloon, another early riser.

A quick visit to the daily briefing was cut short when it was mentioned the BZIM was only departing. The officials would slot the BZIM in between powered parachute launches.

A quick goodbye to new friend and fellow trike pilot Doug Boyle and the BZIM was pushed air-side. Following the lead marshaller, on a small quad bike, the BZIM was lead to the runway and departed Paradise City, turning south and then southwest towards the Sunshine Sky bridge.

Further routing was then following the coastline to Cedar Key. Although possible tohave flown a more direct routing to Cedar Key via ZephryHills, this airspace was likely to be more congested with SunNFun traffic or even just those aircraft avoiding the area. Also, the views along the coast are much nicer.IMG_0413IMG_0420IMG_0422IMG_0425IMG_0427IMG_0438IMG_0439Between 500>1000 feet the air was fairly choppy whilst over water, which was frustrating. Lots of sea-life seen, but it was proving difficult to get good images

Distance traveled from Lakeland to Cedar Key (CDK) was 175 miles. Straight line distance is 101 miles. Time air-borne was 2 hours 40 minutes.

Cedar Key


The flight towards Paradise City SunNFun was a straight line flight north from Arcadia, except for a small deviation east when a rain shower was seen ahead. A diversion to Wauchula almost took place, joining downwind for the airport. However from this location a way around the shower was obvious.


A rather yucky looking lake.  It looks alive!


An orbit for a closer look


Another orbit, and finally its clear. 100’s of Alligators!

Arrival into Paradise City at SunNFun it was…quiet. Traffic wise anyway. Just the BZIM making the low level 500ft join to the downwind, 400ft turning base over the BP garage and finals to 27. The green flag flying was noted on roll-out, so all good (?). Perhaps not, as a couple of marshaller’s  come tearing over to the BZIM. Some confusion continued about where the BZIM would be staying, but eventually the BZIM was moved outside the air-side area to allow camping under the wing to take place.

After parking the BZIM and speaking to a number of staff about my trip, the rain started. There was no time to lower the wing and waterproof the trikes contents, so the one side of the wing was tied down and I remained with the BZIM to hold it steady. The rain turned into a storm. Winds speeds increased (wing down was into wind), gusting started, and direction changed. Holding the wing kept everything fairly tight. Then the lightning!

So, SunNFun wasn’t living up to it’s name. No Sun and definitely not fun. On two occasions an electric shock was felt, whilst holding the wing. First time holding the wing wires (metal), second time holding a wing baton (plastic). Crackling in the air was heard directly overhead the second time. Perhaps my Adidas Continental rubber-ed boots provided some insulation?

As the rain eased, fellow trike pilot Doug Boyle from Piedmont Aerosports arrived with his trailer-ed  trike. Doug was kind enough to offer shelter in his camper and we both went for a bite to eat.


Doug Boyles Trike, camper and tent

SunNFun is the huge fly-in that takes place every year at Lakeland Regional airport. Lots of flying and aircraft to be seen, with vendors selling everything aviation related. Also unusually(?), a wedding! A wedding between Amy and Larry Mednick, owners of Evolution Trikes, whom built the Revo and Revolt trikes took place on Tuesday evening.


Congrats to Amy and Larry

Also on Tuesday evening, the Uncontrolled Airspace Podcast (UCAP) broadcasts on SunNFun radio.


Jack and Dave of UCAP


and Jeb!

Wednesday April 11th was spent wandering around SunNFun and readying the BZIM for the adventure ahead. Too much is being carried and needs to be thinned out.

Departure from SunNFun Thursday 12th at around 8:00am