Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, the late Jimmy Leeward and the late Fred Cabanas were inducted into SUN ’n FUN’s Flight Path of Fame at a simple ceremony during this year’s fly-in.
This class of inductees were commended by John “Lites” Leenhouts, SUN ’n FUN’s president, for inspiring legions of pilots and service to the aviation community, as well as SUN ’n FUN.
Those fortunate enough to be at the ceremony heard a few wonderful first-person stories from Bob Hoover.
The inscription at the Flight Path of Fame reads: “Those who are recognized here have brought excitement and thrills to tens of thousands of aviation enthusiasts throughout the years at the SUN ’n FUN International Fly-In & Expo. Their volunteer participation in this event has taken SUN ’n FUN from a local fly-in to a world-class international event. SUN ’n FUN salutes them for their support of our mission to preserve and enhance the future of flight through world-class events, inspiring and educating people of all ages.:
The Flight Path of Fame, in its second year, is located at the Vertical Riser, which is near the main entrance to SUN ’n FUN. Last year’s inductees were the Aeroshell Team, John Mohr, Sean D. Tucker, Roscoe Morton, and Patty Wagstaff.
Hoover is a former airshow pilot and United States Air Force test pilot, known for his wide-brimmed straw hat and wide smile. In aviation circles, he is often referred to as “The pilots’ pilot.”
Cabanas was an aviation legend known around the world, flying airshows in vintage biplanes. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and was featured in several movies and TV programs, such as “The Glades” and commercials. He died earlier this year while preparing for an airshow.
Leeward was an American air racer, owner of the Leeward Air Ranch in Ocala, Florida, and the pilot of the P-51 Mustang “The Galloping Ghost.” He died at the 2011 Reno Air Races.
Photo by Ben Sclair: John “Lites” Leenhouts with Bob Hoover (sitting) and several members of the Leeward family at this year’s SUN ’n FUN.