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Old 04-25-2015, 10:12 PM
jlisler jlisler is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Donalsonville, GA.
Posts: 104

I was there on Friday. The arrival was the most frustrating and harrowing one I have ever made into the Sun-N-Fun. When we (me in my RV4 and a friend in his RV4) arrived at Lake Parker, the controllers were holding everyone over the lake because the field was IFR. The cloud layer was about 1000 feet over the lake so we elected to orbit a couple of miles to the east to stay clear of the log jam of airplanes holding. They told us to go away and come back later so we diverted to go get fueled up. When we got back they started letting planes fly the approach and I managed to make it all the way to the blue roof building before they slammed the door shut and made everyone go back to Lake Parker. There was some joker NORDO in a Zenith that shut everything down. Well, back at the lake everything was out of control. I believe some people do not read the NOTAM before they arrive. Some were circling in the middle of the lake, some along the shore, and some just wandering along cutting others off. The controllers say to maintain 100 knots. Well, if you are behind a Cessna 120 like I was, that is a no go. Now everyone starts to bunch up and the controllers get irate. Throw in the field being closed two more times for "incidences" on the run way and it gets worse. I finally got back on the approach after almost a hour circling the lake. As soon as I turned down wind for 9L, still going way too fast, the controller said turn base and land now! I tried to slip and turn to final all at the same time and still managed to float forever. That Cessna in front of me got pretty big before I got slowed down! I arrived at Lake Parker at about 0830 and it was 1130 before I actually got to home built parking. Oh, and my buddy made to the field an hour before me because he did not get waved off.

And another thing. A cheese burger, a chicken sandwich, two orders of fries, a Coke, and two bottles of water was $31.00. Shameful.
Jerry Isler
Donalsonville, GA
RV4 N455J
1949 C140A N9641A
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:12 AM
E. D. Eliot E. D. Eliot is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: San Pedro
Posts: 886
Default Not for me apparently

When my 12 is completed, I'll not attend any event like this. I'd like to meet you all but my evaluation of S&F is that it isn't worth the risk of getting killed while trying to navigate to a landing. I'm not skilled enough to enjoy flying around while trying to see and avoid others in the bait ball.

The EAA fiasco and S&F are definitely on my list of 'must miss.' Don't need them.
Building finally
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:28 AM
ColoRv's Avatar
ColoRv ColoRv is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Tampa (BKV)
Posts: 894

Wow. I guess I am very much in the minority here. My plane has been flying for 13 months now and I've been to Oshkosh and Sun n Fun, enjoying both a great deal. My plane was judged at both so admittedly I spent 90% of the time within 20 feet of my plane talking to judges and builders all day long. SnF is smaller to be sure, but the ground crews and judges couldn't have been more friendly. The crowds at SnF seem more aviation educated to me. I didn't turn around to find anyone climbing into my cockpit or any children hanging from anything while here.

By 1pm it's getting hot out there...I didn't mind having HB parking locked up for the airshow. I was ready to go by then anyway after standing in the sun since 8am. I kinda liked knowing my plane was locked away and safe during that time.

Overall, I really enjoyed SnF and I will be back. I enjoy standing by my plane, talking to all of the builders and telling the rest that anyone can build an RV.....and should. This year, I got to debate plenum design with Sam James himself. I certainly couldn't have done that at home. I disagree with his assertions that my plenum doesn't work but he sure is passionate about them.

It's been a great week and I got to meet many of you and swap stories. See you at Oshkosh!
RV-8 Flying
1,235th flying RV8
SARL Race#95
SnF Homebuilt Judge

2015 Sun n Fun Kit Built Reserve Grand Champion
2015 Oshkosh Kit Built Champion
2015 Jeffco Kit Built Grand Champion
2014 Oshkosh Outstanding Workmanship Award

Broken Warrior of the Jarhead Clan
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:22 AM
plehrke's Avatar
plehrke plehrke is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Defiance, MO
Posts: 1,422
Default Been there; done that.

I have been to Sun and Fun but no desire to go back. No issues with my trip 20 years ago but nothing to draw me back especially with all the bad stories I hear from those that have been there in the last 10 years. In a community like experimental aviation, negative word of mouth is hard to overcome.
I will spend my aviation gas money flying to local flying ins, breakfasts, and $100 burger joints. I wear my VAF hat to most every place I go. Just happens most places I go has very few people to witness.
RV-6A - 12 years over 850 hours
Cessna 140 - 68 years over 3400 hours
Based at 1H0 (Creve Coeur)
Paid dues yearly since 2007
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:10 AM
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bsacks05 bsacks05 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Warner Robins, GA
Posts: 1,187

Every year these SNF posts are either "SNF sucks" or "SNF is awesome". After 15 years attending and nine of those flying in, here is my perspective.

The SNF organizers set the stage but its up to the weather and attendees to make it a success. Yes, it is a money making operation for the organizers and the city. Otherwise it would not take place.

IFR over the field, NORDO Zenith cruising down 27 when all traffic was using 9er, pancaked landing leading to a field closure. All happened within one hour as I stood at the fence with my handheld receiver. Whose fault is that?

I said it before, if you are flying into SNF you can optimize your experience by bringing your own food and drinks, stay in HBC where a donation will get you snacks and cold drinks (BTW MJ pays for it all out of her pocket, SNF only provides the tent, chairs, and camper RV for her and fam), do most of your exploring before noon and after 4. Spend the hot afternoons in a shady place.

SNF is what you make of it. Every year I am fascinated by the variety of planes and grateful for the old friends and new ones I run into. Don't believe rumors and bitter posts. Do some research and planning. It pays off.
Bruce Sacks
RV-9 N659DB - Flying since 7/1/06
Hatz CB-1 - Fabric covering with Polyfiber.
Warner Robins, GA

Last edited by bsacks05 : 04-26-2015 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:18 AM
Wingnut Wingnut is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Fleming Island, FL
Posts: 153

Bill, thank you for taking the time to fly your RV-8 out. My wife and I spent a lot of time throughout the week looking it over and taking pictures. It is beautiful and we picked up a lot of ideas. Some of the judges are from our home field so I'm sure they will be talking about your plane when we return home. We look forward to seeing it/you (and everyone else!) at Sun N Fun next year.
Con Kelley

Empennage and wings need tips
Fuselage kit "finished" (for the moment)
Finish kit and FWF in progress
Hartzell CS
Aerosport Power IO-360, Dual Pmags, AFP FM200 FI

C-172 at KCRG
C-150 at 7FL4 (sold)
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:36 AM
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rv8guy rv8guy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Watkinsville, GA
Posts: 594

First -many kudos for the HBC crew, they have been consistent and just great every year for a long time. Helpful, shade, water and more! awesome.

Back to Paul's question. I have been going fairly regularly since 1983, and have seen most of the changes occur slowly. I have said for a number of years now that HBC and friends are the big reason to go. Heck, three good friends now volunteer out of HBC, and I always see Bruce, Pat, and many others as well. For a number of reasons, my boys and I (they started flying in there and camping as toddlers) drove the six wheel RV and camped in the north pasture. It was a nice experience, but I spent a lot of time at HBC any way, and did see and talk to a lot of RV friends. $$$

Well, we were at the base to final area, and it was rare to see a homebuilt land. In the old days, it was a pretty steady stream. My older son Brian wanted to see a Hatz, since I have plans and he went to rib building class. There were none, and few biplanes at all. My off the wall comment was that Sun N Fun was not even close to a home building affair any longer-guess I believe that pretty strongly. There are so many groups and get togethers to have that camaraderie now, that Sun N Fun is kind of a hassle

I will probably get back to HBC one way or another to visit, but the rest of the show has lost some appeal, including no big lines of RVs to look at.

We saved a fortune on food by bringing it ourselves. For old times sake we ate on the warbird line first day 41$!! wow. If they had any free water fountains, they were hard to find.

It is hard to think of not going since I am a hard core airplane lover, and my family looks at it as a given that we go-and they want to take grand kids now, but I may fade out for a bit.

I really did enjoy seeing friends, and telling stories, but the feeling is different without the homebuilding focus
Marshall Jacobson

"Miss Sue"

RV-8 80749 slow build taildragger
7.5 year build first flight Dec 2005
SOLD at 540 hours and 10 years of FUN
Watkinsville, Georgia
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:29 AM
h&jeuropa h&jeuropa is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Posts: 206

We had a great time in HBC! This was our first time flying and arrived Monday just before the weather. There was no traffic so the arrival was easy.

HBC camping is awesome! Mary Jane and her crew are outstanding, friendly and helpful. We had heard about the Friday dinner but had no idea of the breakfast offerings or the evening meals.

The showers could use some hooks and shelves to put stuff on, but they are adequate and I only had to wait a few minutes one morning. Heather never had to wait.

I had no idea how many of the posters to VAF were there. Next time I'll bring a list of registration numbers.

We had a total of 4 Europas in HBC and two other owneers drove in. We all hung out and had a great time.

We'll be back and certainly in HBC.

Jim & Heather
Europa XS N241BW
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:47 AM
60av8tor 60av8tor is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Harrisburg, Pa
Posts: 759

Originally Posted by bsacks05 View Post
Every year these SNF posts are either "SNF sucks" or "SNF is awesome"
This sums it up the best - good and bad in everything; which one will you expend your time and energy to focus on. I have flown to OSH the past 2 years since owning my 7A, and am already excited about this summer. There are ways to work around the busy times - it is clear to me that some people just flat out don't read the NOTAM The procedures just aren't that difficult in reality, but not everyone is following along, so I continue to arrive during slow times.

I cannot tell anyone why I like OSH, but it is mostly the people I meet every year. The folks I meet and talk with every morning over coffee in HBC (thanks, Jerry) alone makes the trip worth it to me. All ages, all backgrounds, from all over the country (and world in a few instances). I have yet to hit Sun N Fun - live fairly close, but this time of year is always very busy at work. I imagine I would have similar thoughts on Sun N Fun.
RV-7A purchased flying - Sold 6/16
RV-10 empennage delivered 1/22/14 (325JT)

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Old 04-26-2015, 10:57 AM
rwarre rwarre is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wray, Co
Posts: 496
Default My experience

Flew in on Tuesday from Colorado after a stop in Quincy Fl overnight. Always like to see a part of the country along the way. I stayed at Winter Haven, camping alone which was my mistake, but had the use of the FBO facilites. Shuttle daily for $15.00/da. They are very accommodating and nice people to work with. I like to attend the forums and talk with the vendors who supply the parts and supplies for my RV. I talked with Joe from slick magnetos who was very knowledgeable and gave me some ideas of whether to go with electronic ignition or stick with the slicks. The doc who talked about alcohol and flying made me aware of how dangerous the consequences can be if ever arrested. These types of forums and opinions from some of the experts make it worthwhile for me. Of course the USAF thunderbirds were great. The only bad part of the trip was flying back to Colorado, dealing with turbulence, and a pretty strong headwind.
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