Homebuilder's (Brief) Guide to Sun 'n Fun

There is a lot to see and do at Sun 'n Fun, and even a lot NOT to do - just sitting and watching airplanes is enjoyable if you've never taken the time to do it. Visiting the many experimental aircraft vendors outside and in Buildings A through D is mandatory, of course. But there are a few things we recommend that homebuilders need to put on their list of things to do before they leave the show.

The Fly-Market: Located off in Building E, this out-of-the way spot is a great place to go find treasures for anyone building an airplane. Spread out on long tables you'll find bits and pieces of airplanes and aircraft components for sale - all brought in by other homebuilders to sell to other homebuilders. Early in the week you'l find bundles of drill bits and other tools to re-stock your shop - but you have to get them quick! Later in the week, stop by for rare collectibles ad things to fill out the relaxation corner of your hangar - books, models, strange Aviation doodads that will start conversations... it's a fine place to spend some time looking for lost treasures.

Hangar E, where you'll find the Fly-Market at Sun 'n Fun.
Hangar E, where you'll find the Fly-Market at Sun 'n Fun.

Homebuilt Camping: Even if you aren't going to camp by your airplane, the long trek out to Homebuilt Camping (way out on the right bottom corner of the map) is worth the effort, if only to see just how much fun you're missing by not throwing a tent in the airplane and joining the family atmosphere far removed from show center. It has been told that some folks fly in and park for a few days but never actually go to the show itself! Much smaller than AirVenture's plane camping area, HBC at Sun 'n Fun is a great place to relax and trade stories with other aviators coming out of winter hibernation. A family atmosphere reigns, as HBC is hosted by a family who makes sure that everyone has food and drink (there is a donation jar, of course) to along with the camaraderie from dawn until well after dark.

Homebuilt camping at Sun 'n Fun.
Homebuilt camping at Sun 'n Fun.

Paradise City: While many consider Paradise as a place for ultralights, that's just plane wrong - it is a place for Light Sport Aircraft, many of which are kits. You'll find lots of flying going on, with never ending low passes by everything from the latest STOL machines to powered parachutes. Many of the popular kit companies are set up out there, so if you don't visit, you'l be missing out on the opportunity to se what's new with at least half the industry. There's not a lot of shade out there, so slather on the sunscreen before you go - but definitely go!

Sunset grill in Paradise City
Sunset grill

Paul Dye

Paul Dye, Kitplanes® Editor in Chief, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the space shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor, and Flight Advisor, as well as a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

3 Replies to “Homebuilder's (Brief) Guide to Sun 'n Fun”

  1. I'm trying to Google maps and see the area, but I don't have any roads, towns, or a lake to go by......any help would be nice....

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