November 1, 2023 | , ,

October Recap at ACE

By: Cathy Dal Colletto

October was filled to the brim with tons of activities! Let’s look and see what we have been up to this past month.

Wings ‘n Waffles

Wings ‘n Waffles is a guest speaker series we offer at the Florida Air Museum every second Saturday of the month. Those who attended October’s Wings ‘n Waffles enjoyed chicken and waffles while listening to Retired Colonel Tony Rizzo.

Col. (ret.) Rizzo is a duel-trained General Surgeon and Aerospace Medicine Physician with thousands of peacetime and wartime surgeries. He was in the United States Air Force for 39 1/2 years. Logged flight time in the F-16B, B-1B, KC-135, C and KC-135 models, T-37, and HH-60 Helicopter. Currently, he is a professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Polk State College and recently published a book titled, “Stories from a Walt Disney World Physician”

The next Wings ‘n Waffles is November 11th from 9-10 AM at the Florida Air Museum. Our guest speaker is John Helms, the Executive Director for Bartow Airport. Click here for more details.

Cookies ‘n Convos

Cookies ‘n Convos is a youth guest speaker series we offer at the Florida Air Museum every first Thursday of the month. Those who attended October’s Cookies ‘n Convos got too much on delicious cookies while Carl Valerie, October’s guest speaker, presented.

Carl Valerie is an International Airline Captain who has over 15,000 hours flying in more than 50 different types of aircraft. He is the author of “The Aerospace Scholarships Guide,” along with numerous aviation blog posts. He is also the host of the Aviation Careers Podcast, the Stuck Mic AvCast, and SUN ‘n FUN Radio.

The next Cookies ‘n Convos is November 2nd from 6-7 PM, with the guest speaker being the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit. If you would like more information on the upcoming Cookies ‘n Convos, click here for more details.

Wings ‘n Things

The annual Wings ‘n Things held at the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus took place on October 21st! Kids of all ages got to experience a myriad of free educational STEM and Aerospace activities, including drones, stomp rockets, wing rib building, riveting, exploring a planetarium, sphero robots, flight simulators, coloring, and much more!

Family Spooktacular

Family Spooktacular was a spooky family-fun event to celebrate Halloween on our beautiful SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus! The night was filled with spooky trails, s’mores, fortune-telling, trick-or-treating, and more!

Thank you to Ms. Pat and the wonderful volunteers who put so much hard work into making this event possible!

Pumpkin Dash 5K

The Pumpkin Dash 5K had kicked off the Family Spooktacular early in the morning. 230 runners of all ages had the Halloween spirit in them while they ran in costumes.

Congratulations to all the winners in their respective divisions!


The National Intercollegiate Flying Association held its Region 9 SAFECON competition on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus and the Lakeland Linder International Airport.

Colleges from around the region came to compete in varying competitions, including pre-flight inspections, aircraft recognition, message drop, power-off landings, power-on landings, etc.

The schools that participated were Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Auburn University, Jacksonville University, Polk State College, Florida Institute of Technology, and Broward College.

Click here for the competition results.

NAFI Summit

The National Association of Flight Instructors held the Inaugural Summit at the Aerospace Center for Excellence and Florida Air Museum October 24-26. Flight instructors from around the country got to experience guest speakers, panels, and vendors.

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