NewsPolk County


Lake Wales pilot happy to return to Sun 'n Fun after difficult 2020

Jerry Kerby2.jpg
Posted at 4:57 AM, Apr 16, 2021

LAKELAND, Fla. — For most of us, Sun 'n Fun is an airshow, but for Lake Wales pilot Jerry Kerby, it's more like a family reunion.

“The people that fly air shows, the people that support air shows, become part of a family over a number of years so you get used to seeing them,” said Kerby.

Due to the pandemic, shows across the country were grounded, and so too was business for many of these pilots.

“For those who do it full time and make their living at it it was a disastrous year, about half of the year they are on the road performing for the public,” said Kerby. “You hope they have nest eggs built up to survive a downturn like this.”

Even though they weren't performing, these planes still require lots of attention and money.

“He’s a thirsty airplane it requires a lot of maintenance," said Kerby about his North American T-28, also known as Mad Dog.

For many of these pilots Sun 'n Fun is their first show back. It’s especially meaningful for Kerby considering he's from Polk County.

“Our friends can come see us fly and it’s just so wonderful to be back, you can not get around to everybody that you know here and spend some time with them, there’s just not enough time,” said Kerby.

As a special welcome back treat, Kerby’s performance on Saturday night is dedicated to first responders.

“Red, white and blue flashing lights, looks like an ambulance or cop car or fire truck coming at you,” said Kerby.