Experience the Sun 40 Sprint with Craig Payne

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The Sun 40 Sprint

For a number of years, SUN ‘n FUN and Aircraft Spruce sponsored the Sun 60 and Sun 100 races. They were not really races but Time Trials instead. After sponsorship lapsed, no similar competition existed until 2014. Now the Sun 40 Sprint has been growing gradually but also gaining in the level of competition.

Classes can be created for all aircraft types but prospective participants should be reminded that some models are never going to be competitive. Aircraft like the Vans RV’s have classes of their own due to their great number. This year, with the help of entrants from the Sport Air Racing League (SARL), experienced racers with highly refined aircraft led the way. As an example, the overall 2016 winner was a homebuilt Lancair Legacy powered by an 8-cylinder, hot-rodded, Lycoming IO-780, owned and operated by Mike Patey.

The event is conducted on Wednesday and requires about 12 volunteers manning turns on the course, timing, and a pair of announcers narrating the action. An awards banquet is held for both the Sprint winners and the SARL racers who ran the Sunshine Express 400 to Winter Haven and then flew into Lakeland.

SUN ‘n FUN co-sponsored this race by providing discounted registration and a dinner venue.  Also, SUN ‘n FUN provided parking in the “Race Pits”, located on the Northwest corner of the Homebuilt area. There, our guests can view most of the racers, parked in one spot. These are some of the fastest aircraft of their types in the world. Another example is Bruce Hammer’s #91 Glassair I. With a Lycoming 0-360, naturally aspirated engine, Bruce consistently runs 275 mph true in cross-country races. Folks, that is fast for a 4-cylinder engine.

Pilots new to the sport are welcome to enter and test their skills and aircraft against the best in the country. Information, registration, a modest entry fee, dinner ticket purchases and documentation requirements are loaded unto the SUN ‘n FUN website after the first of the year. You can view page here.

Craig Payne

Volunteer Chairman

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