Category Archives: Features

2020 SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo

SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo
Lakeland, FL
March 31 – April 5, 2020
Our 2020 VISION is to give you the best EXPERIENCE ever at the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo!

click here for website

The Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has emerged as a nationally recognized leader in STEM-related and aerospace education through its various learning centers, outreach programs, scholarships, and summer camps aimed at engaging, educating and accelerating the next generation of aerospace professionals. ACE is the home of the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo, one of the largest aviation events in the world, the Florida Air Museum which is Florida’s official Aviation Museum and Education Center, and the Lakeland Aero Club which is the country’s largest high school flying club. ACE is the world’s leader in producing licensed teenage private pilots and delivers youth programs that engage over 50,000 students a year.

SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that markets and supports year-round events, including one of the world’s largest annual aviation events, the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo. Proceeds from these events provide funding for the the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE). SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In annually raises over $2M for ACE, enabling the delivery of STEM-related and aerospace education programs and scholarships.

SUN ‘n FUN has been and still is a collaboration of spirits in the form of volunteers who given willingly of their precious time to create the most enjoyable and successful aviation experience on the earth.

A Touching Tribute To Twin Tigers Airshow Star Mark Nowosielski

Twin Tigers Airshow Star Mark Nowosielski © Plane and Pilot

The star aerobatics performer died along with the son of his partner in the crash of a homebuilt. A friend offers a touching tribute. Plus, how you can help.
By Plane & Pilot
Published January 28, 2020

The news this week has been dominated by another tragic crash, but the airshow world has been grieving the loss of two star performers, Red Bull airshow pilot Steve Andelin in Guatemala in a crash that killed two others on the ground, and the one that claimed the life of Mark “Novo” Nowosielski, one of the two stars of Twin Tigers, one of the hottest acts in the airshow world today. Tragically, also killed in that crash was 13-year-old Nathan Sorenson, the son of Nowosielski’s flying partner Mark Sorenson. The crash took place at a private airstrip in Senoia, Georgia, in a Mustang II, a small amateur-built plane that Nowosielski had reportedly just purchased recently. Besides his airshow act, Novo was a pilot for Southwest Airlines.

Allison Hoyt, a friend of Nowosielski, wrote a tribute to him that we found deeply moving, and she has agreed to let us share it with our readers. Here it is:

“I first met Mark Nowosielski at IAC Nationals in 2016, the last year they were ever held in Texas. I’m something of an airshow/aerobatics junkie, and to discover that the best in the US were throwing down practically in my own backyard was a dream come true. Just before the final round of advanced competition, Sammy Mason couldn’t get his Pitts started, and while several of us were frantically trying to get his mag retimed, Mark was busy offering Sam the use of his Edge 540. It was a remarkably kind gesture that left a lasting impression of him as a generous person, one that’s only been confirmed by the outpouring of grief since the news of his passing broke.

Mark holds the distinction of flying one of only two airshow acts that has ever made me cry, and the only one that has ever made me continue to cry on repeated viewings. The Twin Tigers’ night show was fantastically innovative, incredibly challenging, and exceptionally exuberant. When I talked about the show, I told people to do whatever they needed to do to experience it for themselves, for no better reason than simply that it existed at all.

An old friend of mine, Ashlee Smith, is a Southwest Airlines multimedia specialist, and I knew she had been wanting to shoot a feature on an airshow pilot who flew for Southwest for some time. When the Tigers won the 2019 Bill Barber award, it was then that I realized that *both* Marks flew for Southwest, and that they would be the perfect subjects for such a project. She pitched the story to her higher-ups, and got approval to come out to Oshkosh, interview the Marks, and film the night show. Ashlee let me tag along as a second camera operator, which is how I wound up with show center flightline access to one of the greatest airshow acts I have ever seen.

I love watching airshow pilots prepare for their performances. The rituals, the walkthroughs, the quiet moments of introspection as they ready themselves for daring feats of flight. I was lucky, being so close to the action, to catch just this little snippet of a man and his machine, going through a well-rehearsed routine, having no knowledge, of course, that this would be the last time I would ever see him fly.

Though I was technically working throughout his performance, and very nervous about getting it right for Ashlee’s sake, I still got choked up, as I had before, at the apex of Mark’s act, watching him dance around the sky to the soaring refrain, “Come alive, come alive! Go and light your light, let it burn so bright!”

It was a strange mixture of jealousy and joy, witnessing a flight so exhilarating you couldn’t help but wish you were up there too, tumbling across the night sky. And I think that was all Mark ever wanted as an airshow pilot: to fly so jubilantly that everyone watching would find themselves yearning to take to the air.

After the show, Mark graciously invited me back to the team’s campsite, and I will treasure that evening I spent with the Marks and the extended Sorenson family for as long as I love aviation. Blue skies to Mark and Nathan, and my deepest condolences and most fervent prayers to the loved ones they left behind.”

If you’d like to contribute to a fund for Mark and Nathan’s families, friends have set up a GoFundMe page.

Captain Earle Worley Scholarship

I am pleased to announce the availability of the Captain Earle Worley Scholarship. The Captain Earle Worley Scholarship Fund was established in 2017 to honor the memory of Captain Worley, a career pilot with United Airlines for 35 years, retiring in 1988. His love for aviation started when he entered the Navy as a naval air cadet. He then became a flight instructor and a member of the Civil Air Patrol. He founded the Eagles Chapter of the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society in Williamsburg. The scholarship is intended to support post-secondary educational scholarships for qualifying graduates of public or private high schools in Virginia, attending an accredited two- or four-year community college, college or university, or vocational school in the United States who plan to study aeronautics, aerospace, aviation or related engineering.

Follow this link to access additional information about the scholarship as well as the online application:

All applications and supporting materials must be submitted online and are due to the Foundation on or before March 2, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions!

Elizabeth Winegardner
Scholarship Committee Chairman


Ways to Support Our Cause

Cash. We gladly accept checks mailed to us the old-fashioned way! Generally, under the “mailbox rule”, you are allowed to deduct your contribution in the year the check is mailed, even though we may not receive it until after year-end. We are also happy to assist you in setting up a regular monthly or quarterly ACH transfer directly from your bank account to ours. The discipline of regular monthly giving allows you to make a very meaningful contribution over the course of the entire year. For your convenience, you may donate by going to website (www.VirginiaAviation

IRA distributions. If you are at least 70 ½, you are permitted to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA of up to $100,000 per year. This distribution counts as part of your required minimum distribution for the year. The funds move directly from the IRA custodian to the VAHS and are excluded from your taxable income. This is a great way to give pre-tax dollars to charity, particularly for those who no longer itemize deductions due to the increased standard deduction.

Marketable securities. Giving stocks or bonds that you have held for at least one year can be very tax efficient. In such a transaction, you are allowed a charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the security without paying tax on the underlying capital gain. We can help arrange for the securities to be transferred directly from your brokerage account to our brokerage account.

Closely- held securities or real estate. The tax benefits of giving non-marketable assets to a public charity can be the same as with gifts of marketable securities. You usually obtain a tax deduction for the fair market value of the asset without paying tax on the underlying gain. However, with most gits of non-marketable assets an appraisal is required. The VAHS is not set up to receive gifts of this nature directly. However, you can benefit the VAHS through your local community foundation or a donor advised fund that accepts these types of gifts.

IRA beneficiary designations. Tradition IRAs can be very tax inefficient assets to leave to your children. In addition to any estate or inherited tax you might pay at your death, your children must also pay income tax when the fund are withdrawn. Charities, such as the VAHS, are good candidates to name as beneficiaries for all or part of an IRA since the charity is tax exempt. Your custodian can provide you with a simple beneficiary change form to make this change.

Charitable trusts. Would you like to receive an income stream from assets to the remainder of your life, after which time the assets would pass to the VAHS? There are various trust alternatives that can accomplish these goals. Due to the administrative costs of establishing and maintaining a trust, this should only be considered for more meaningful legacy gifts. We are happy to discuss in further detail.

Testamentary giving. We invite you to consider remembering the Society in your Will. You can leave the VAHS a percentage of your estate or fixed dollar amount, and the bequest can be changed or revoked as often as you update your estate planning documents. We can provide you with sample language to discuss with your estate planning attorney.

New Warrenton- Fauquier (KHWY) Terminal Almost Complete

New Warrenton- Fauquier (KHWY) Terminal Almost CompleteWe are on the “Final Countdown” to the finishing touches to complete our new Terminal. Most of our furniture has arrived and in place. The skilled labor needed to complete items for inspection are scheduled in the proper sequence to meet our timelines and the commercial cleaning crew is scheduled to come in to clean the new girl from stem to stern on Monday the 30th of December. We still must move our IT network in, move the avionics equipment over and have our robust Data Stream Broadband installed before we can actually function in the building. We are looking to be operating there by mid-January. The public space furniture was funded through a grant with DOAV. Gratefully, the private space furniture, TV’s, and appliances have all been purchased through generous donations by our patrons and several benefactors. No public moneys were used. Thanks to all who helped us out in this respect. The Grand Opening will be in the early spring so standby for further updates as we get the dates all set. We do plan to hold a soft opening, aka an Open House, soon after moving in. The attached photo shows the building wet and wild at night. When she is completely finished, I’ll update you with a full, day photo!

Dave Darrah,
VAHS Vice President
Warrenton Chapter President

Come visit us at: The Pilot House, 3381 Shannon Airport Circle, Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Mailing address: VAHS, Shannon Airport KEZF Campus, PO Box 7795, Fredericksburg, VA 22404-7795
Phone number: 540-376-3265 / Email: