Florida Air Museum
|Florida Air Museum|
|Collection size||over 100 aircraft|
|President||J.R. "Lites" Leenhouts|
The Florida Air Museum is designated as Florida’s “Official Aviation Museum and Education Center.” It features a display of aircraft including one-of-a-kind designs, classics, ultra-lights, antiques and warbirds.
The museum is housed in a main building and a hangar annex. Both are located on the campus of the SUN 'n FUN fly-in and expo, and in fact that event supplies much of the funding for the museum's collections and programs. The entire campus is located at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, just south of the runways.
The main building holds much of the collection, especially smaller aircraft like a Boeing-Stearman Model 75 from the classic Red Baron Pizza aerobatic team. A wide variety of unique designs, homebuilts, and even a Mercury rocket motor share the display floor. The aircraft are supplemented by a collection of engines from WWI to the present day. It also houses a library, offices, a conference room and the museum's small gift shop. The hangar annex houses larger aircraft from the collection including a fully restored Lockheed XFV, a Grumman F-14 Tomcat and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra.
Also on Campus is the Buehler Restoration Center. This 8,000 square–foot facility, located adjacent to the Florida Air Museum at SUN ‘n FUN, houses SUN 'n FUN’s year–round aircraft restoration activities. The facility, which opened in April 2006, was made possible by a $300,000 grant from The Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust, with additional support from a State of Florida Cultural Facilities and Historical Grant.
A complete list if the museum's collection is still being aggregated, but even a partial list reveals some notable aircraft available to view at the museum:
- Aeronca LB - restored on site
- Boeing-Stearman Model 75
- Convair F2Y Sea Dart - pylon-mounted at the entrance to the main building
- Douglas DC-3 - originally a C-47 Skytrain later converted to a DC-3
- Grumman F-14 Tomcat
- Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star - in Thunderbirds colors; pylon-mounted at the front gate
- Lockheed XFV
- Pietenpol Air Camper
- Porterfield Collegiate - currently undergoing restoration
- Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 - a 7/8 replica currently on display in the terminal of the Lakeland Linder Airport
- Spirit of Peace Rozière Balloon Capsule - on long-term loan by Kermit Weeks from Fantasy of Flight
- "Sun n' Fun » Restoration Projects". Sun-n-fun.org. Retrieved 2012-08-05.