Today’s photo comes to you from my archives, way back in 2008.
Powered parachutes at Sun n Fun 2008.
Like most airshows I’ve been to the Sun n Fun is a good mix of aircraft, from military fighters with super-advanced technology to rag-and-wood trainers from the earliest days of flight. There is an endless variety of classic airplanes, new airplanes, civil airplanes, business jets, and helicopters.
But one of my favorite things about Sun n Fun is that the ultralight runway takes off over the parking lot. People walking in or out can see, hear, and experience the ultralights in a much closer way than they can the other aircraft. Looking overhead you can see everything from powered parachutes to kitplanes that resemble LSAs or “regular” aircraft flying over. Especially at the end of the day, when the sun is low and the crowds are leaving, there’s something very magical and primal about seeing these tiny flying machines swooping around over the airshow crowds.
Flying long distances at high speeds is an impressive feat of engineering, but I still think that short distances and low speeds are part of the primoridal soul that makes aviation what it is. The simple thrill of looking down and realizing that you’ve achieved the ancient dream of man is more awe-inspiring to me than looking at blotches of color from 40,000 feet. The joy of flight is looking out the window and realizing that you can fly, not programming a G3000 to fly the airplane for you.
Low and slow, baby…low and slow.