Teachers’ Pre-Flight Experience

Teachers’ Pre-Flight Experience

Formerly “Teachers’ Workshop”

Teachers, Pre-K through College are invited to join us at the 50th SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo for a “non-standardized day” designed especially for YOU! The day begins with a hot catered breakfast in our flight-line chalet with our keynote speaker. Watch as four teachers fly with the Titan Aerobatic Team! Go on a flight-line tour in a private tram with specialized stops and explore the many aircraft on our Warbird Ramp and Runway 5-23. Enjoy a catered lunch with NOAA Hurricane Hunters, then sit back, relax, and enjoy the airshow with family and friends at our premier teacher airshow viewing area.  

Gregory Harbaugh

Gregory Harbaugh has a diverse background within the Aerospace industry spanning over the last 40 years. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 1978, Harbaugh went on to work for NASA in Engineering and technical management positions in NASA JSC Mission from 1978-1987. After receiving a Master of Science in Physical Science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1986, he joined the Astronaut Class of 1987 as a Mission Specialist. His missions include STS-39, STS-54, STS-71, and STS-82 which totaled his spaceflight time of 818 hours including 3 EVAs and a total EVA time of 18 hours 29 minutes. While working as an astronaut (1987-2001) he spent 4 years from 1997-2001 as the Manager of the EVA Project Office at NASA.

After leaving NASA in 2001, Harbaugh started at SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In, Inc. as the Vice President and the Museum Director at the Florida Air Museum where he oversaw the annual SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo and components of operating the Florida Air Museum. After departing SUN ‘n FUN in 2006 he started at Sigma Chi Foundation as the President and CEO, working there until 2016. From 2015 to the present day, Harbaugh has been the Chairman and CEO of InnerSpace Consultants, providing leadership, mentorship, and accountability training for senior managers in for-profit, government, and nonprofit corporate settings.

Come experience the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo with us and leave feeling inspired to help your students to reach for the stars!  
After all, the Sky is Just the Beginning!

Registration is a low rate of $30.00 for teachers and administrators.

What does Registration Include?

  • Regular admission to the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo for the day (Saturday)
    • Special family package available
      • Maximum of 2 additional adult tickets at $40.00 per ticket
      • Maximum of 2 additional youth tickets (11-17 year old) at $15.00 per ticket
      • Kids are FREE
      • Additional tickets can be purchased in addition to the discounted tickets available
  • Fly-In Survival Bag (Special Teacher Edition)
  • Hot catered breakfast in one of our premier flight-line chalets
  • A chance to be selected at random through a drawing to fly with the Titan Aerobatic Team! (The rides are for teachers currently in the classroom, and they must be physically able to climb into the cockpit, without assistance, of a T-6 aircraft and weight less than 250 pounds.)
  • Private tram tour of the flight line with special stops along the way
  • Lunch with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters
  • Premier airshow seating reserved for teachers and their family
  • Parking Pass
  • Stay and explore the remaining areas of the fly-in and enjoy the night show!

*****Family members are NOT included in breakfast, programming, tours, or lunch, but can join you at our premier airshow seating between 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm to watch the airshow together.

Estimated TimeActivities
7:30 am Transportation available for those needing assistance from Main Registration to the Flight-Line Chalet
7:45 am Breakfast
Keynote Speaker – Greg Harbaugh (Former NASA Astronaut)
Titan Flight for 4 Teachers
Group Photo 
9:00 am Private Flight Line Tour with special stops along the way
Explore warbird aircraft
12:00 pm Lunch with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters
1:00 pm Airshow (Special airshow reserved viewing area for registered teachers and their family) 

Ray Lien was reputed as an excellent aviation educator. He envisioned an Aerospace Educators Workshop in 1988. Ray was introduced to aviation in 1925 by his Platte, South Dakota, neighbors. Ray enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in January 1942. Throughout WWII, Ray served as a Maintenance Officer in various locations, but predominantly in North Africa with B-26 and B-25 aircraft. After the war, Ray joined the Air Force Reserve, where he continued to serve in the maintenance field until his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1970.

Ray Lien earned a BS in Agricultural Engineering from South Dakota State College in 1941 and an MS in Agricultural Engineering in 1958. He actually began teaching at Purdue University in 1953, which he continued until 1987. He was one of the few Purdue University faculty to ever rise from an Instructor to Full Professor without earning a Ph.D. In 1988, he became Coordinator (and later Chairman) of Educational Project for SUN ‘n FUN and started the first Aerospace Educator Workshop.

In Ray’s honor, we proudly present the Ray Lien Award annually during the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo during the Teachers’ Pre-Flight Experience. This award is given to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to aviation education.

Nomination Procedures – Deadline March 1, 2024.

  • The award will be presented at the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida during the Teachers’ Pre-Flight Experience. We request the recipient be present to receive the award.
  • Anyone can nominate a person and it can be self-nominated. The nominator must submit a letter of support for the candidate by describing his/her contributions to aviation education.
  • The nomination letter of support should be submitted no later than March 1, 2024.

Ray Lien Award Winners

Spirit of an Educator – “Knowledge is the key to aviation’s future.”

1998 Paul Poberezny1999 A. Scott Crossfield2000 Lyle R. Flagg
2001 Billy Henderson2002 Gene Olson2003 Dr. Charley Rodriguez
2004 Dr. Carol Denicole2005 Barbara Walters-Phillips2006 Greg Harbaugh
2007 Marie Grein2008 Richard Ortega2009 Chad Smith
2010 Barry Scharf2011 Lori Bradner2012 Bill Yucuis
2013 Joseph Oliver2014 John Iskra2015 Not Awarded
2016 George “Gabe” Gabrielle2017 Thomas J. Sarko2018 Mary Catherine Vaughn
2019 Marie Hill2021 Jessica Strauss2022 David Cohen
2023 Jeri Martin

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