Tag Archives | airplane attractions

New Smyrna Beach Balloon & Sky Fest

Hot Air Balloon at the NSB Balloon & Sky FestThe weather should be all clear this weekend for the 3rd annual New Smyrna Beach Balloon & Sky Fest, presented by Bright House Networks.  If you’ve ever wanted to go up in a hot-air balloon, here’s your chance!  The festival will run Friday, April 8th thru Sunday, the 10th at the New Smyrna Beach Airport.  If a hot-air balloon ride isn’t your thing, there are tethered hot-air balloon rides, as well as helicopter and airplane rides.  Or, you can just watch the beautiful balloons and other festivities.  There will be plenty of activities including live entertainment, radio controlled airplane performances, Pilots ‘n Paws fly-in dog rescue, American Martial Arts demonstration, the “Stirrup Some Dust” horse demonstration drill team, the popular BALLOON GLOW, a Kids Fun Zone, an air show and more! And, there will be over 100 vendors for your shopping pleasure.

The Kids Fun Zone features many free things such as slides and bounce houses, and a few items offered for a small fee such as pony rides and bungee-jumpingEmbry Riddle Aeronautical University will be presenting an Education Zone where there will be some exhibits from NASA and the National Air & Space Museum, a Sonar game run, Robotics demonstrations, a Jet-powered dragster car, helicopter and airplane displays, and much more.  The air show will feature a parachute and flag jump, a T-6 solo by the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, P-51 Mustang Aerobatics, and more.  There will also be an informational Q&A session regarding Aeronautical-based careers.

Visit the website for additional information and schedule of events so you can plan your weekend accordingly.  This event has FREE admission; however, there is a $5 charge for parking, and fees for some of the rides.  Make sure to bring a blanket and/or lawn chair, and plenty of sunscreen.

Orlando Tourist Tip: Since the hot-air balloon rides are dependent on the weather, the morning sunrise flights ($199 per person) are your best bet.  It sells out quickly so make your reservation ASAP at 386-424-2199.

Spotlight: Fantasy of Flight

About 35 miles from the Orlando area, located in Polk City is “an attraction of a higher plane.”  Fantasy of Flight is a tribute to aviation that the entire family can enjoy.  What makes this different than some aviation museums is that there are over 40 rare and vintage air crafts, and most of them are restored to the point that they can actually fly.  The interactive Fun with Flight area has a variety of unique experiences such as a state-of-the-art hang gliding simulator.  You can also climb aboard an authentic B-17 Flying Fortress and check out P51 Mustangs, a B-24 Liberator, B-26 Marauder and more!   There is also an inspiring multi-media exhibit based on the courage of the Tuskegee Airmen, African American pilots who fought during World War II.  Another multi-media tribute honors Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP); these courageous women left their homes and families at the height of World War II to serve as the first women to fly for the U.S. military.  Another unique feature is the real restoration tour, where you can get an insider’s view of what it takes to restore these priceless air crafts.

The passionate founder of this attraction, Kermit Weeks, is an expert pilot.  He actually learned to fly as a teenager and started building his first aircraft at 17.  He earned his aeronautical engineering degree and built his own aerobatic airplane and qualified for the U.S. Aerobatics team.  He has won many flying competitions and has earned 20 medals in World Aerobatics Championship competitions.  He has always been fascinated by flight and wants to share his love of aviation with the entire world.  You may even be lucky enough to see this world-renowned pilot fly during your visit!  There are aerial demonstrations (when weather permits) and Kermit often performs these demonstrations himself.

Check the website for the many events that are held at Fantasy of Flight.  Just to mention a few, there’s the annual Roar N’ Soar, which showcases the world’s best classic air, land and sea racing machines ever built.  Also held here are the World Cup Paintball Tournament, aviation camps, and Triumph over Tragedy, Airmen in Captivity: The POW Experience.  And, you can explore the unexplained on the nightFlight, an active, professional paranormal investigation led by Apollo Paranormal Investigations.  There is something interesting for everyone, and if you’re not an aviation enthusiast before visiting Fantasy of Flight, you may just be one once you’ve visited!

For more information about Fantasy of Flight, visit their web site, or type inFantasy of Flight’ in our search (top right) to read more articles about this attraction. Feel free to leave a response below about your visit to the Fantasy of Flight and share your tips and experience!