Fantasy of Flight will once again play host to one of Central Florida’s splashiest events on Thursday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The aviation attraction welcomes "Splash-In," a one-day event specifically designed to celebrate seaplanes and other amphibious aircraft. Throughout the day, dozens of seaplane pilots will use Fantasy of Flight’s Lake Agnes as their chosen landing strip.
"Splash In" is a "fly-in within a fly-in"- just one portion of the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In & Expo, which has been dubbed "Spring Break for Pilots." Guests will be transported by shuttle to and from SUN ‘n FUN headquarters at Lakeland Linder Field and Fantasy of Flight throughout the event.
The public is encouraged to come and meet the daring pilots and watch as they maneuver their amazing amphibious planes from the sky to the surface of the water and back again, competing in various air- and water-based competitions including spot landing, a "bomb drop" contest and slaloms with floatplanes and flying boats. Fantasy of Flight’s own Grumman Duck is scheduled to be featured at the event, while the PBY Catalina and the only airworthy Short Sunderland MK5 in the world also will be on display at the attraction.
Seaplanes are most easily categorized as airplanes capable of taking off from or landing on the surface of water, including flying boats and float planes. Seaplanes with retractable wheels allowing land and/or water operation are known as an amphibian.
Seaplanes gathered along the banks of Lake Agnes
"One of the most fun events we hold all year, ‘Splash-In’ promises a good time for the whole family," said Kim Long, General Manager, Fantasy of Flight. "Whether you’re watching a seaplane slowly descend from the sky to skim gracefully across the water or witnessing a high-speed slalom race, the day is filled with excitement and inspiration for all ages."
The all-day event is included in admission to Fantasy of Flight, which is $28.95 for adults and $14.95 for children, ages 6-12, plus 7 percent sales tax. Children 5 and under are free. SUN ‘n FUN ticket holders who do not wish to visit the Fantasy of Flight attraction may pay $5 for parking and admission to "Splash-In." Visitors who do not wish to visit the Fantasy of Flight attraction and are not SUN ‘n FUN guests may pay $10 for parking and admission to "Splash-In."
The attraction is also pleased to offer SUN ‘n FUN attendees an "Extended Spring Break for Pilots" by giving $5 off general admission to Fantasy of Flight with proof of admission to SUN ‘n FUN (wristband or ticket receipt). The offer is good for multiple visits and is valid March 29 through May 31, 2012.
At 6 p.m. on March 29, Fantasy of Flight will host the 2012 Lindbergh Awards Celebration which honors the legacy of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The event benefits the Lindbergh Foundation, which in turn furthers the aviator’s legacy through Aviation Green Alliance, Lindbergh Grants Program and other educational grants and programs. During the ceremony, the 2012 Lindbergh Award will be given to Dr. Forrest Bird, World War II veteran and lifelong pilot who pioneered the respirator industry. The event will also honor James C. Ray, a pilot and businessman known for his philanthropic efforts to support aviation-oriented youth education programs in Central Florida. Ray will receive the 2012 Spirit Award. Sponsorship opportunities are currently available. Tickets are $100 per person. For more information or to purchase sponsorships or tickets, visit www.lindberghfoundation.org/docs/.
"Splash-In" is part of the annual SUN ‘n FUN "Fly-In," an aviation convention started in 1975. In 2008, the "Splash-In" portion of the wildly popular Lakeland Linder Regional Airport event was moved to Fantasy of Flight to utilize the state-of-the-art facilities and wide-open spaces of the Polk City landmark attraction. Pilots of 87 planes arrived on event day alone as guests enjoyed the amazing sights and sounds as crafts of all kinds descended upon the lake waters or took to the sky.
SUN ‘n FUN, a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization based in Lakeland, Florida, is best known for its annual International Fly-In & Expo held each spring. The event is the primary source of funding for SUN ‘n FUN’s expanding year-round aviation education programs including operation of the Florida Air Museum, the state’s "Official Aviation Museum and Education Center," which is also supported through grants from the Division of Historical Resources and Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Department of State. A growing scholarship program provides financial support to ensure SUN ‘n FUN’s education programs are accessible to all. For more information about the 38th Annual Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In, call 863-644-2431 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting, 863-644-2431end_of_the_skype_highlighting, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sun-n-fun.org.
Fantasy of Flight also hosts a number of other special events throughout the 2012 year, including the 15th Annual Mustangs & Mustangs, March 31, as well as the remainder of its 2012 Legends & Legacies Symposium Series. Upcoming symposiums are: "Unspoken Valor: The Bomber Crews of World War II," April 13-14; D-Day: "The Invasion of Normandy," May 11-12; "Reflections of Vietnam," June 8-9 and "Letters Home: Love, Courage & Survival," Oct. 12-13. Fantasy of Flight welcomes inquiries from all those who may be interested in participating in the symposium series.
The series events are included in the price of Fantasy of Flight general admission of $28.95 plus tax for adults, $14.95 plus tax for youth (age 6-12) and five and under are free with full paying adult. The symposiums are free for all Annual Pass holders. Group rates are available. Call 863-984-3500 or go to www.fantasyofflight.com for more information