The announcement of the 47th annual SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo was an early Christmas gift to the aviation industry and it couldn’t have been more anticipated by first-time visitors and veterans alike. This past year, all airshow and aviation events were canceled, leaving a lot of people anxious not knowing when things will open back up and when it does, what will it be like? Will anyone want to attend? Would there be vendors exhibiting? These questions were flying through everyone’s minds as they entered the Lakeland airport.

This year, vendors and exhibitors arrived Monday but the actual show did not begin until Tuesday morning. As setup started, there were many unoccupied booths inside the exhibitor hangars but the attendance of guests grew optimistically as the airshow began. Industry leaders and many familiar small businesses still attended and were able to reconnect with customers after a long year of halted travel. With the attendance slightly less than previous years, vendors were able to conduct more intimate and personal interactions with customers. This allows people to really learn about a product, its history, and the passion vendors have for their brand.

Linda Jon Abby SUN n FUN 2021

Banyan Representatives:  Linda Li, Jon Tonko, and Abby Self

Banyan Pilot Shop attended this year exhibiting with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. Our team had a chance to speak with pilots and aviation enthusiasts about flying to the Bahamas, learn about their personal experiences and fascinating trips to the islands in the past and educate many people about what to expect for their next trip with COVID-19 restrictions and testing regulations still in effect. It was a great opportunity to let the flying community know about Bahamas preclearance coming soon to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Pilots and passengers can now leave the USA and fly directly to any of the Bahamian islands without being required to stop at an Airport of Entry (AOE) first. And those traveling to an AOE will also benefit by avoiding the need of going through the customs process upon arrival.

By the middle of the week, the show was bustling with traffic. Warbirds zoomed by celebrating the 75th anniversary of World War II. The Aeroshell T-6 Texan aerobatics showcased their signature flight formations. Our favorite was the arrival of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in diamond formation in the new F-18 Super Hornets. Attendees were able to view rows of aircraft from seaplanes to bi-wings, even walk through the breathtaking U.S. Special Operations Command’s Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.

Based on the success of SUN ‘n FUN, the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh announced the show is a go for July 2021. As the country continues to open up, the general aviation industry looks forward to returning to normalcy with larger events and increased attendance. Banyan Pilot Shop will be attending Oshkosh with the Bahamas once again. We look forward to showcasing more products as demand begins to increase and engaging with more customers.