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Sun 'N Fun Features National Debut of EAA 'Countdown to Kitty Hawk' Pavilion

LAKELAND, Fla. - (March 11, 2003) - An authentic reproduction of the Wright brothers' "Flyer" will be the centerpiece of a 24,000 square-foot exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of powered flight at this year's Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In, which will be held April 2 - 8 at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Fla. Sun 'n Fun is the first of several stops for the Experimental Aircraft Association's (EAA) "Countdown to Kitty Hawk" Pavilion, which culminates it's year-long national tour in Kitty Hawk, N.C., as a key element in America's official Centennial of Flight Celebration Dec. 13-17, 2003. "Countdown to Kitty Hawk will be the featured element of Sun 'n Fun's celebration of aviation's 100th anniversary," said Sun 'n Fun President and Convention Chairman John Burton. "We're grateful to EAA for selecting Sun 'n Fun as the site for its national debut." Other stops include Dearborn, Mich.; Dayton, Ohio; Oshkosh, Wis. (for EAA AirVenture); Seattle, Wash.; and the First Flight Centennial Celebration in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Sun `n Fun attendees will be able to re-live aviation history when they tour the impressive exhibit, which is presented by Ford Motor Company and supported by Microsoft Flight Simulator and Eclipse Aviation. Countdown to Kitty Hawk is actually a series of events honoring the Wright brothers' first powered flight and the innovation and determination it takes to make world-changing dreams a reality. "The Wright brothers were, in effect, the first homebuilders," said EAA President

Tom Poberezny, "so it was only natural that our organization took the lead in celebrating their accomplishments and the remarkable 100 years of aviation history that followed. We hope everyone who visits the pavilion comes away with an appreciation of the significance of that event."

The centerpiece of the exhibit is EAA's 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction built by Ken Hyde of The Wright Experience in Warrenton, Va. The aircraft will conclude its national tour with a flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Dec. 17, 2003 at 10:35 a.m. - 100 years to the minute from the first powered flight.

Other major components of the Pavilion include:

  • Digital reproductions of Wright brothers' documents from the Library of Congress archives. · Microsoft's Flight Simulator cradles of the 1903 Wright Flyer, which allow visitors to actually try their hand at flying the historic aircraft. · A theater and live presentation area where actors will assume the roles of the Wright brothers in a specially-written "What's Wright With Flight!" play, and Darrell Collins of the National Park Service will deliver his stirring "Miracle at Kitty Hawk" presentation. (Schedules posted daily.) · Exhibits on the history of Henry Ford and the Wright brothers.
  • A special weekend visit by either Amanda Wright Lane, great grandniece of the Wright brothers, or Stephen Wright, their great grand nephew. · EAA Young Eagles information. · Interactive and Web-based exhibits, including a contest to select Eclipse Aviation's "Greatest Aviation Innovations of the First 100 Years." This will allow attendees to vote for aviation's greatest innovations online or at the Countdown to Kitty Hawk Pavilion. Voters will be eligible to win deluxe travel packages to the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk and witness the re-enactment of the first powered flight on Dec. 17, 2003.

This year's Sun 'n Fun EA Fly-In features a new format. The event will open on a Wednesday (April 2) and continue through the following Tuesday (April 8). Previously, the event began on a Sunday and ran through the following Saturday. "We encourage people to arrive early to avoid potential traffic congestion," said Burton, noting that the popular daily air show begins each day at 2 p.m. "We also suggest our guests arriving from the Orlando area and points east of Lakeland use the Polk Parkway to ensure a safe and smooth arrival by avoiding construction on Interstate Highway 4." For information on the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In, including admission/registration fees and other key points of interest, access

For more information contact:

John Burton, President
Sun ‘n Fun Fly–In


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