Transition to the Sky

April 25, 2017, Lakeland, FL - Transition to the Sky is a new program offered at the Aerospace Center for Excellence that is designed to prepare people with special needs and their families for future air travel.

Participants who experience the program learn what it is like to experience fundamental steps associated with air travel. The real time simulation allows families to walk through the steps to create an atmosphere similar to an active airport while working between the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus and Lakeland Linder Airport. The simulation steps participants experience include:

  • Airport Arrival
  • Check-in and Ticketing
  • Security Screening
  • Gate and Departure Lounge
  • In-Flight Simulation
  • Baggage Claim

Parents and caretakers of children or adults with special needs often face difficulties as a result of balancing the needs of their child or adult with the common stressors of an airport. To make the travel experience as enjoyable as possible, preparation is key. Transition to the Sky will create confident, comfortable, and acclimated individuals that are ready for future air travel.

Robb Williams, Director of the Aerospace Center for Excellence is proud to have this program on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus.

“This program helps an underserviced demographic in air transportation,” Williams said. “As a retired commercial pilot this program can only enhance the air travel experience for all individuals and I am proud to volunteer my time for Transition to the Sky.”

Transition to the Sky allows travelers to have peace of mind and learn how to overcome obstacles associated with traveling with people with special needs in a fun and supportive way.

Gene Conrad, Airport Director, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, hopes this program helps families.

“The Lakeland Airport is excited to play a part in this wonderful program,” Conrad said. “We hope this helps families with special needs become comfortable with traveling. We want everyone to experience air travel, it opens up so many possibilities for families and caretakers.”

This new program is designed to build confidence within passengers and their families, allowing them to enjoy the journey to their destinations without the fear that can accompany air travel. Richele Floyd, ACE Education Director, believes this program could be the answer for many families who feel air travel isn’t on their horizon.

“Transition to the Sky is a program designed to assist families with apprehensions of air travel,” Floyd began. “I have spoken with many families who feel prohibited to fly because they do not want to expose their child to the common obstacles or confusion associated with an airport. This program will immerse them in a simulation in a fun and supportive way and hopefully break any barriers they may have. We want to help families feel confident that air travel is possible for them; preparation is the key.”

The next simulation for Transition to the Sky will run on May 11th at 9 AM. The simulation typically lasts 2 hours and registration is open to the public. To learn more about this program, please contact Richele Floyd at or call her at 863-644-2431