The august group of aviators that make up the Florida Aviation Hall of Fame grew by three on April 4, 2019, during the SUN ‘n FUN fly-in.
Russell St. Arnold, General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., and Stallion 51’s Lee Lauderback were inducted via an intimate event at Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum.
St. Arnold was the designer of the popular Breeze aircraft. General James “bust down barriers” by becoming the U.S. Air Force’s first African American four-star general. Lauderback started in gliders at 14 and in an aviation career that has taken him around the world, he’s become the highest time P-51 Mustang pilot in the world.
“Each of these men hold positions of outsized influence over aviation in Florida,” said ceremony emcee John “Lites” Leenhouts, SUN ‘n FUN president.
“Dad would be humbled by such an honor,” said Jack St. Arnold at the ceremony. “He likely would’ve wanted to decline the honor saying he wasn’t worthy. But on his behalf, thank you for this honor.”
Lauderback was honored to the point of near tears.
“This isn’t about me,” he said. “I’ve always been surrounded by a great team of people that has allowed me to be in a position to push forward. Without the greatest team in aviation, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today. Thank you.”