Jim Abbott on Travel
Postcards from Florida
January 17, 2010
It's too late for Halloween, but the spirits, er, spirit of spooks is part of a new, limited-time event at Fantasy of Flight.
The aviation-themed attraction is likely best known to Interstate 4 travelers between Orlando and Tampa Bay for the DC-3 stuck nose-down into the ground as a sign post to the Polk City tourist stop. I always thought that was an odd icon for a museum dedicated to crafts that ideally remain airborne.
No matter. Fantasy of Flight has endured since its grand opening in 1995, with its exhibits and demonstrations of more than 40 historical airplanes ranging from the early 1900s to the 1950s. It was the top vote-getter by readers of this very newspaper in 2007 rankings of "Orlando's 101 Best Kept Secrets."
Visitors can watch daily aerial shows, such as World War I dogfights, or climb inside a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress, which is where the ghosts come in.
That aircraft, one of the attraction's signature exhibits, is at the epicenter of paranormal activity that apparently is rampant in the hangar at Fantasy of Flight. After hearing reports from visitors, ghost hunters were invited from Apollo Paranormal Investigations, a non-profit organization based in Apollo, Fla.
When the Apollo investigators concluded that ghosts were making a home in the vintage aircraft, the braintrust at Fantasy of Flight did what anyone would do (no, not run away!): They decided to build a new event around it.
This month marks the opening of "nightFlight," a series of three after-hour tours that offer three to four hours to "explore the unexplained." Tour dates: Jan. 30, Feb. 13 (special Valentine's theme!) and Feb. 27.
How's it work?
At 9:30 p.m., participants will embark on a tour with API investigators, after being trained on the devices used by ghost hunters. By torch-light, the groups will proceed to the hangar, where the API team will share evidence of video apparitions and escort the crew on their own explorations.
NightFlight tickets are $75, plus tax. For details, visit fantasyofflight.com or call 863-984-3500.
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