The thunderous roaring from the engines of vintage military war planes like T-6s, Stearman bi-planes, T-34s, and B-24 bomber “Diamond Lil” taxiing along the runway for takeoff rumbled through the RV campground Wednesday, April 22, at the Sun ‘N Fun Airshow at the Lakeland Linder Airport.
“This is what it’s all about!” an excited Susan Beardsley shouted from atop her front-row scaffolding stand.
Susan and her husband, Al, have been camping at the airshow since 1990. At first, they had a tent. Then, in 1998, they started using an RV to give their camping experience a homier feel. Each year the Beardsley’s leave their Byrdstown, Tennessee, home in mid-March, travel to Lakeland, Florida, and park their RV in the front row along the runway in a pre-paid RV spot.
As an aspiring photographer and pilot, Susan says “It’s worth it to me to be here where I have access to all of the airplanes.” Beardsley says she knows most of the planes and their history. Occasionally, she’ll get stumped and will have to turn to a friend for help.
As the warbirds roared above the 16-RV Lazydays display, Beardsley was kind enough to share some tips she and her husband use each year to get their front row seat. She points out that they have 12-years experience of dry camping. That experience has made RV life more effective.
Some of her tips:
- Pack enough water to get here. Never travel with full tanks, because it’s not good for the seals and adds more weight, which means less gas mileage.
- Always stop to top off the fuel tank just before entering the airport property. Topping off the tank ensures enough fuel for the generator.
- Top off the water tank before pitching camp.
- To accommodate seeing over a six-foot fence, cut two six-foot scaffolding pieces in half and reinforce with extra support, piping, and pins. By cutting the scaffolding in half, they will fit in the bay underneath the camper.
- Bring a lot of sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply.
- A good camera, of course.
Beardsley says she and Al have attended other kinds of shows with their RV and always try to get as close as possible to get the best photographs and enjoy the experience.
Source: Joseph Garnett, Jr., RV enthusiast
Feature photo and “T-34? photo courtesy of Susan Beardsley.