Archive 2008 - 2019

SUN-'n-FUN Air Show

by Mike Raftus

Two of Holliston’s senior citizens, Lloyd Bernegger and Mike Raftus, recently were involved with the SUN-‘n-FUN International Fly-in and Expo in Lakeland, Florida. Lloyd Bernegger, whose brother Jim is the director of Marketing and Communications of SUN-‘n-FUN, had a two-week assignment working at the Media Center. He coordinated the media and press activities.

Lloyd spent a good deal of his time driving a golf cart around the tarmac, flight line, ramps and exhibit areas.

SUN-‘n-FUN has a huge campus at the Lakeland Airport that houses an air museum and an aviation secondary school. Each spring for the past 36 years, they conduct an annual Air show and Aviation Trade Exposition. Lloyd and hundreds of others donate their time, skills, and energy as volunteer workers. The show is totally dependent on volunteers, many retirees from all walks of life. Some arrive in their RV’s which they park on the campus for two weeks or more. People come year after year to gather, work the show, rekindle friendships, share life stories and gain free passes to the Show while working.

Two AT-6 "Texans" fly by

Lloyd’s duties prior to the event include cleaning, setting up and organizing the Media Center. Once the Air Show and Exposition got underway, he assisted media personnel, speakers and others by transporting them around the airfield in golf carts. The Media Center was located at the edge of the airfield tarmac, aircraft parking ramps and taxiway. Lloyd had a great view of all the aerial activities from the patio and porch of the Media Center and from his golf cart.

One of the many speakers at the Media Center was Jeff Skiles, Co-pilot of the airline miracle landing on the Hudson River. He recounted the story of the safe landing that he and Captain Sullenberger made with the crippled Airbus 320.

Mike Raftus travels the air show and aviation circuit as a photo journalist and advertising salesman for aviation magazines. Mike was pleased to make use of the facilities in the Media Center. The two Holliston friends saw much of each other, including a pleasant dinner in downtown Lakeland. Mike was on editorial assignments from Atlantic Flyer and EAA-Warbirds magazines. He also sold advertising to the exhibitors for Warbird Digest magazine.

The huge annual event at the Linder Regional airport in Lakeland has something for everyone interested or involved in aviation. Hundreds of aircraft of all types and vintage fly in for the week. They range from homebuilts, aerobatic planes, antiques, classics, ultralights and restored warbirds to the latest private airplanes, rotocraft, transports and present day military aircraft.

USAF Thunderbirds in their F-16 "Falcons"

The top billing among the air show performers was the USAF Thunderbirds who put on their usual spectacular and noisy routines in their F-16 Falcon fighters.


The photos show the sights and action enjoyed by the participants and spectators. The crowds were large for both the aviation exhibits, aircraft display areas, and the air shows, especially on the weekend. Attendance was up from last year’s air show, so the show organizers, management and exhibitors were pleased.

If any viewers are interested in SUN-‘n-FUN or other air shows, contact Lloyd Bernegger ( or Mike Raftus (