Page 12 - World Airshow MayJun-2018
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GREG GIBSON: GUEST EDITORIAL



                        Not Your Father’s Sun ‘n Fun




                           A    nyone in aviation for any length of   to experience their perspective on two giant screens placed
                                time is familiar with Sun ‘n Fun.
                                                                  along the crowd line and streamed  live globally via social
                                Formally known as the Sun ‘n Fun
                                                                  media and web channels. This exciting live TV content was
                                International Fly-In and Expo, the
                             44-year  old  Lakeland,  Florida  event   seamlessly integrated with the expert narration of veteran air-
                                                                  show announcers Larry Strain, Rob Reider, Danny Clisham,
                             has deep tradition and has become    and Dave Keim.
                             fondly known as “Spring Break for   •  The Sun ‘n Fun Preflight show, a professional TV sports-style
                             Pilots”.  Thousands  gather  to  unfreeze   fast-paced pregame show, was also streamed live and broad-
                             their  birds  at  the  largest  aviation  ex-  cast in two segments daily. LASTV also produced this Sun ‘n
                             hibition in the south, second in North   Fun-conceived element, and it was a major success. Hosted by
                             America only to the Experimental Air-  seasoned sports announcer Mark Allen and featuring color
                             craft Association’s (EAA) annual Air-  commentary by airshow master emcee Ric Peterson, the show
                             Venture  in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.      featured live content and interviews, incredible stories, and
                                   TM
        With its tradeshow/convention format and daily airshow, Sun ‘n   engaging content captured onsite by reporters Steph Stricklen
        Fun has something for everyone – over 500 exhibitors and ven-  and LM “Lunar” Sawyer. Both the Sun ‘n Fun Preflight Show
        dors, displays of the latest aerospace technology, new aircraft un-  and the daily airshow recorded broadcasts are now available
        veilings, workshops, safety and trade forums, and of course the   to view on YouTube.
        exciting daily displays of the finest military demonstrations and
        civilian airshow performers in the world.              •  News anchor  and aviation  enthusiast Steph  Stricklen  also
          Over the years, the challenge for this storied event has become   performed another new function for Sun ‘n Fun. Using her
        the same as for many others. What has been traditionally excit-  proven skills as a roving Facebook Live reporter, Steph shared
        ing and vibrant has been, in some cases, upstaged by the advent,   new, innovative, and exciting content from the exhibit halls,
        not of better content, but in the way that content is delivered to   special events, and of course the aircraft displays to bring all
        the audience. Since the turn of the century, the once-powerful   the excitement and adventure to audiences that couldn’t make
        and dramatic two-dimensional presentation of material via tele-  the trip this year. After seeing her coverage, organizers hope
        vision, print, and radio has been all but replaced by multi-di-  viewers will make their plans to attend in 2019.
        mensional, immersive delivery methods and technology. There   •  Finally, Sun ‘n Fun beta tested a fantastic new experience for
        is social media with its 24/7 ongoing conversation and instant   show goers: A first person Virtual Reality experience of live
        delivery of information. People want their intel right now, and   onboards during the daily airshows. Viewers could don a spe-
        in exquisite detail with the opportunity to link to more and then   cial VR headset and join performers in the cockpit for the
        share it. Immersive content that gives intensive audio, visual, and   most immersive airshow experience ever!
        dynamic cognitive processing is available in 2D, 3D, and Virtual
        Reality environments. People want to experience their content,   Now, don’t worry. All this excitement was still based on 44
        not just see it or hear it. Wayne Boggs, legendary airboss and   years of volunteer-built, steadfast airshow blood, sweat and tears,
        airshow authority is famous for briefing his airshow perform-  and all the things that have always made Sun ‘n Fun aviation’s
        ers about their safety margins with the statement, “People are   season opener. Thousands of aircraft, great food, and engag-
        amazed the damn things fly anyway!” They are, but not the way   ing entertainment made this once again a special place, and the
        they once were.                                        things that have made it great still do. At Sun ‘n Fun, you could
          For 2018, Sun ‘n Fun was up to the challenge of delivering   still climb inside a B-17 bomber and talk to an F/A-18 pilot about
        its content to both attendees and virtual guests in that dynamic   a career in the military. You could hear the lovely Theresa Eaman
        realm that is so in demand. Combining traditional and modern   sing the big band classics before meeting a legendary World War
        media, the event re-imagined itself as a 360-degree sensory en-  II veteran. You could hear the sweet rumble of some of history’s
        vironment, with multiple ways to access it. Through several ini-  most legendary fighters just before the sky splits with the thunder
        tiatives, the organizers delivered amazing coverage of the event’s   of modern technology’s most powerful jets. You could sit on a
        content, dramatically enhancing the overall experience of the at-  blanket and watch the pageantry of aviation’s finest fly by against
        tendees using a variety of coordinated multimedia platforms.   the beautiful Florida skies.
                                                                 The difference in 2018 was that the immersive energy and in-
        •  Social media sharing stations were prevalent throughout the   put offered by 21st century technology dramatically enhanced
           venue, inviting patrons to “start the conversation” on the myr-  the nostalgic fun of old, all while supporting the next generation
           iad of trends, topics, and technology on display.   of aviators at the Aerospace Center for Excellence, Sun ‘n Fun’s
        •  Live AirShow TV (LASTV) coverage of the event began on   onsite STEM education complex. What this event has become is
           Friday, April 13, adding its signature entertainment and dra-  certainly not your father’s Sun ‘n Fun.
           matic treatment to enhance the excitement of the weekend   It’s better.
           airshows. Mark Magin and his Onboard Images team pro-
           vided their state-of-the-art in-cockpit and in-flight coverage   Greg Gibson is Sun ‘n Fun’s Director of Air Operations and
           that put the audience right in the cockpit with the performers   Business Development.

                                         WORLD AIRSHOW NEWS   12  March/April 2018
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