On November 20, 2015 with much fanfare, 50 engraved commemorative bricks were placed in the Solo to Success walkway in front of the Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA) in recognition of the 50 exceptional students who have completed a solo flight during the past year. Later that morning the Lakeland AeroClub broke ground on a new 12,000 sq. ft. hangar that will become their headquarters. These activities concluded CFAA’s week-long Homecoming to the Sky.

The 50 solo students, ages 16-19 years old, are from CFAA and other local schools, and have completed the necessary steps to independently pilot an aircraft or “solo” in the past 12 months. Their flight lessons were covered by scholarship funding made available annually by SUN ‘n FUN to any qualified Polk County student.

“This is the first step in obtaining their pilot license,” said John “Lites” Leenhouts. “We’re the largest producer of teen pilots. These are responsible young men and women with discipline and confidence who have a bright future in whatever direction they choose to go. The community should be very proud of these students.”

The Lakeland AeroClub headquarters will become the 12th building of the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) on the SUN ‘n FUN Convention Campus. It will host two offices and a large open space for the Lakeland AeroClub, comprised of approximately 80 students, to restore vintage aircraft that they then fly to destinations such as OshKosh, Wisconsin for the annual AirVenture event.

“The creation of the Lakeland AeroClub headquarters at the entrance of the SUN ‘n FUN Convention Campus shows the community SUN ‘n FUN’s commitment and dedication to the future of aviation,” said Robb Williams, Executive Director of ACE.