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Sequestration hitting the Sun 'n Fun | News

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Sequestration hitting the Sun 'n Fun

Lakeland, FL -- Sun 'n Fun organizers have been told by the Federal Aviation Administration that they may not be able to send air traffic controllers to help with this year's annual fly-in because of sequestration.

Sun 'n Fun President and CEO John Leenhouts says they've also been informed that the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team will likely not come either, because of forced budget cuts.

"You know, poor planning on someone else's part caused an emergency reaction on ours," Leenhouts told 10 News on Wednesday.

But Leenhouts says Sun 'n Fun -- which attracts more than 10,000 aircraft to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport each year for the six-day event -- will look for volunteers to replace the FAA controllers.

"We have certified controllers who are either retired or in between contracts jobs who are already calling us to volunteer their time and they will fill that void very quickly."

Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Director Gene Conrad says they typically use 50 additional controllers for the fly-in.

On Friday, the FAA also told Conrad the control tower at Lakeland Linder may close if sequestration goes through. But Conrad says that won't happen immediately; instead he says it would likely take about 30 days.

This year's Sun 'n Fun is schedule to run from April 9th through the 14th.


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