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Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA)



The Central Florida Aerospace Academy exists to provide a meaningful and content rich education that will inspire and motivate students at all levels. Students are challenged to reach high levels of achievement in science, technology, engineering and math in preparation for high tech careers in the fields of aviation and aerospace. 

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SUN 'n FUN's core commitment to education through the pursuit of aviation is ever more visible on the 58,000 square foot state-of-the-art new home for Polk County School District’s Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA) at the front entrance to the SUN 'n FUN/FAM campus.

Announced during the 36th Annual SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo (Link to Press Release), the three-story building was made possible by a $7.5 million contribution from the Aviation Education Foundation, founded by life-long aviator & philanthropist, James C. Ray. The generous contribution enabled expansion of the CFAA program, operating since 2008 on the SUN 'n FUN campus, from a current enrollment of 115 students to up to 500 future aerospace/aviation career-oriented high school students. 

The Central Florida Aerospace Academy represents a model of public-private partnership comprised of a consortium of like-minded parties who are dedicated to inspiring today’s youth to explore and reach new heights in air and space. The core of the Academy’s curriculum is to engage students during their formative years in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM curriculum) through the pursuit of aviation.

CFAA is also a Workforce Education Career Academy, thus maintaining partnerships with SUN 'n FUN/FAM and other businesses on and around the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. These “partner” businesses offer part-time, hands-on employment and internships designed to expand students’ insights and experiences in real-world aviation and aerospace careers.

Among special benefits available to each CFAA student is a designated course covering the information needed to pass the FAA Private Pilot license written exam; the opportunity to earn on-site volunteer hours toward Bright Futures scholarships during the SUN ’n FUN International Fly-In & Expo; memberships in the Restoration Club and the SUN ’n FUN Future Eagles Aviation Club as future flight training support for CFAA students.

CFAA students attend high school every day at SUN 'n FUN, but they have access to all of the benefits of their Kathleen High School affiliation, including sports and clubs.  All programs at the Academy provide students with a high school diploma, and students have the opportunity to earn college credits (at no charge) toward an associate’s degree from Polk State College. 

Completion of the new CFAA building was completed in of February, 2011 and occupied immediately prior to SUN 'n FUN’s International Fly-In & Expo in late March that same year.

The building was designed by SCMH Architects and constructed by Rodda Construction, Inc, both of Lakeland, FL. The project was administered by Beechwood Development, L.L.C.

The construction utilized a building technique referred to as “Tilt Wall” construction. “Tilt wall” is a process in which the vertical walls of a structure are built of concrete panels that have been pre-cast horizontally at ground level in wood forms framed on a temporary “casting pad” that was laid just for the purpose of providing a smooth solid surface for the wall panels to be formed, poured and set. These panels were engineered with steel and lifting hooks to allow for each to be lifted into its designated place to form the exterior walls of the building. 

Click here to read a press release regarding the CFAA Ribbon Cutting that took place on opening day of the 2011 SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo.

For more information about CFAA please visit

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