On Friday, April 12, at 12:30 p.m., SUN ‘n FUN will add the names of Bob Hoover, James Kent “Jimmy” Leeward (1936 –2011) and Freddie Cabanas (1954-2013) to its Flight Path Hall of Fame.
The Flight Path of Fame recognizes those performers that over the history of SUN ‘n FUN have greatly contributed to its success and have also set the standard for airshow performers that is unmatched, according to SUN ’n FUN officials.
The Flight Path Hall of Fame is by the Vertical Riser near the main entrance to SUN ’n FUN, across the way from the Florida Air Museum.
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.”
He is expected to arrive on the SUN ’n FUN grounds Thursday evening and will be at the fly-in all day Friday, according to SUN ’n FUN officials.
Cabanas was an aviation legend known around the world, flying in vintage biplanes. He earned his Airframe and Power Plant license from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach and was an Aerobatic Competency Evaluator for ICAS and an EAA Warbird Evaluator. He qualified to fly airshows in numerous aircraft and won numerous awards.
He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and was featured in several movies and TV programs, such as “The Glades” and commercials.
Leeward was an American air racer, owner of the Leeward Air Ranch in Ocala, Florida, and the pilot of the heavily modified North American P-51 Mustang racing aircraft, “The Galloping Ghost.” He will long be remembered for his role as a stunt pilot in many films, including “Smoky and the Bandit,” SUN ’n FUN officials note.
All who are at the fly-in on Friday are invited to the ceremony at 12:30 p.m., when a plaque will be placed at the Vertical Riser in honor of Bob Hoover, Jimmy Leeward and Fred Cabanas.