Sun n' Fun 2009

Total round-trip distance 1,050 statute miles.  Fuel used 80 gallons. Total flight time 8 hours (includes climbs and descents).

April 21 - 26, 2009
When Mark Goldberg heard that I was flying my Bearhawk to Sun n' Fun this year, he asked me if I would display the Miss'ippi Mudbug (N57EN) at the Bearhawk/Avipro booth for the week.  I considered it a great honor to be asked, so we planned the trip accordingly to allow for the full week.  Accompanying me on the trip was my wife Michelle along with our 11 year old grandson Cole. We decided to make a vacation of it and visit Busch Gardens as well as the beach in St. Petersburg while there. 

In addition to the three of us, we had about 200 lbs worth of baggage, cameras, ice chest, lawn chairs and misc. things that are deemed "necessities" for a week long trip with the wife.  Here is the Bearhawk all loaded up to nearly gross:

I packed the heaviest bags in and under the rear seat to keep the CG forward.

It's an interesting comparison, looking at the above picture and then remembering the trip I took to Sun N' Fun in 2002 in my RV-6A.  With me and my Father-in-law weighing in at about 250 lbs.each, we could just barely bring a change of clothes and a shaving kit in the RV. We stayed at a place with a laundry mat so we could do our wash every night. I really love my Bearhawk!

After take off, we headed through the East/West VFR corridor that gets you through all of the military airspace along the Florida panhandle coast line near Pensacola NAS and Eglin AFB and Tyndall AFB.  Cole sat up front with me and gave me all of the appropriate frequencies to stay in touch with the various ATC folks along the trip:

Here is Pensacola NAS along the Florida coast. Flying along this beach line is absolutely breathtaking:

We caught a nice little tailwind for the first leg of the trip netting us a respectable 158 MPH ground speed. Here is the GPS as we pass over Panama city at 3,500 feet on our way to our fuel stop at Perry/Foley airport (40J) in northern Florida:

You can see the ground speed at the lower left corner of the screen.

Here we are turning final for Perry/Foley airport in Florida:

The wind was 14 kts gusting to 19 kts with a swing of about 60 degrees back and forth. The Bearhawk handled it just fine, even with my limited tailwheel time.

They were serving up free hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and soft drinks at the airport.  While we were eating our hot dogs and visiting with the friendly locals, famous airshow pilot Sean Tucker landed and fueled up his highly modified Pitts.

The Bearhawk always draws some lookers at every airport I fly into.  Perry/Foley was no exception.  These were some other travellers headed down to Sun n' Fun and were duly impressed with the Mudbug:

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