Fun Facts of the 15th
A continuing series of reflections in celebration of Fantasy of Flight's 15th birthday
What brought Kermit Weeks and his aircraft collection to its home in Orlampa?
Fantasy of Flight/Orlampa as seen from the window of the collection's Ford Tri-Motor
The original Weeks Air Museum opened its doors at the Tamiami Airport in 1985. But, by opening day, the collection had already outgrown the space, so Kermit started seeking new property to suit his collection (large) and his vision (even larger!). However, it wasn't going to be easy. Kermit aligned three criteria in order fulfill his vision:
1. Good tourist access
2. Enough land for a 5,000 foot runway
3. Access to a body of water for flying vintage seaplanes
After considerable searching, Kermit found just the right spot and purchased it in 1987. It took four years to attain approvals to build the runways and one monster hurricane in Miami to shake up the collection.
1993 saw the first shovel turned for the runways. Champagne corks flew. In two short years, the construction of the main hangars was accomplished and Fantasy of Flight was born! And so was Orlampa: home to the World's Greatest Aircraft Collection.
Coming Soon: Sensational nightFlight Evidence
continues to gain momentum, many prospective guests have expressed excitement and curiosity about the sort of data that is collected during a paranormal investigation. Unexplained ghostly orb photographed near the B-17
Data is gathered using a range of tools and techniques, including still photography (sometimes employing infrared or night-vision technology), digital video, digital audio recording, infrared temperature readings, Electro-Magnetic Field detection, and visual observation. And open-minded skepticism is always encouraged. Apollo Paranormal Investigations
, Fantasy of Flight's collaborators in the event, spends days after each investigation combing through hours of data, striving to disprove or "debunk" their evidence before they acknowledge its legitimacy.
Stay tuned to www.nightflightexperience.com
where we'll be sharing data collected during paranormal investigations at Fantasy of Flight on a new web page devoted to logging and archiving the findings.
UPDATE: nightFlight Paranormal Investigation EXTENDED by Popular Demand
With all three initial nightFlight dates sold out, we are pleased to announce two new nightFlight
programs: February 20 and March 6.
From the mail bag: "Hey G. Willie! I was at Fantasy of Flight and got an eyeful of the Fokker Triplane in the collection. But I was surprised that such a legendary (and aggressive) war plane is so small. Is it full size, the same size as the Red Baron's famous plane? Is it smaller than other WWI aircraft because it has three wings?"
- A World War I fanatic
G. Willie responds: Dear WW1F, excellent question about a very cool aircraft. I took your question to one of our resident experts, Ken Kellett, who knows a lot about aircraft of that day AND ACTUALLY BUILT our Fokker Triplane replica. He schooled me. Ken Kellett and G. Willie discuss the Fokker Triplane wings
According to Ken, "The Fokker Triplane became legendary as a result of its maneuverability. It wasn't the fastest plane in the war, but it could turn on a dime. Therefore, when a highly skilled pilot and marksman such as von Richthofen (aka The Red Baron) got behind the controls, his enemies were in a world of pain. The famed maneuverability of the aircraft was due to its small size... which was accomplished by taking the total size of two wings and converting it to three wings."
Bingo! Small but oh-so feisty!
Shortly after our photo shoot, the Fokker Triplane went into the Maintenance Hangar for a full once-over since Kermit is planning to fly it during The Blue Max in March
. The Blue Max event promises to be a huge day for R/C aircraft fans and all World War I era fans too, which judging from your moniker, includes YOU!
Kermit Honored as a "Living Legend of Aviation"
Bob Hoover presents the award to Kermit Weeks
On Jan. 22, Kermit Weeks received the "Bob Hoover Freedom of Flight Award," the highest award given at the 7th Annual "Living Legends of Aviation" Awards presented by Learjet. Often called the "Academy Awards of Aviation," the star-studded, red-carpet event was held at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. WWII hero and aerobatics champion Bob Hoover (pictured above with Kermit) is the namesake for the prestigious award.
Kermit, who was introduced by John Travolta at the ceremony, was selected to receive this esteemed award not only because of his passion for flight and his accomplishments as an aerobatics champion, aircraft designer, and restorer, but also for his lifelong mission fulfilled through Fantasy of Flight and his other endeavors. Kermit's true wish is to spark the imagination of every adult and child and to inspire them to pursue their own dreams, whatever they may be.
|"They Dared to Fly" Welcomes Dr. Roscoe Brown, Jr. and Expands with a Special Luncheon
Dr. Roscoe Brown Jr., legendary Tuskegee Airmen Squadron Commander and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, joins the panel of heroes at Fantasy of Flight's upcoming Living History Symposium: "They Dared to Fly." Renowned for his valiant military record, scholarship, public service, and media skills, Dr. Brown's presence with other Airman heroes presents the priceless opportunity of a live conversation with remarkable aviators who made an historic difference by challenging racist stereotypes of the day.
The three day event will be filled with panel discussions and meet-and-greet opportunities. Open Cockpit experiences will be available for guests and Annual Pass holders on Friday and Saturday and a newly-announced Living Legends Luncheon will be held on Friday, Feb. 19 only. Click here for more information or to make your reservation for the Friday luncheon.
The Loss of a Great Hero
It was with the greatest sadness that we learned of the passing of our friend Lt. Col. Lee Archer on January 27. Lt. Col. Archer, the ace of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, provided the inspiration for Fantasy of Flight's P-51C, "Ina the Macon Belle," painted in honor of his famous fighter. Our condolences are with his family and friends.
|Boy Scouts: "Be Prepared" for a High-Flying Fun Time
2nd Annual Boy Scout Aviation Camporee on March 5-7
Fantasy of Flight is thrilled to host 3 days and 2 nights of camping and aviation accomplishment for all Boy Scouts interested in attaining their Aviation merit badge or simply firing up their sense of wonder. Aircraft experts, R/C demonstrations, simulators, camping, and unlimited admission to the world's largest private collection of vintage aircraft - all this and more will be available, in celebration of 100 years of Scouting. Look for a Giant-scale R/C Aircraft performance with Mid-Florida R/C Club.
Only $28 (plus tax) per person. Interested scouts should contact Stephanie at 863-984-3500, ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Early Birds Get the Trophy
Register today for the following legendary events:
The Blue Max
Premiere Vintage and WWI Era R/C Aircraft Competition
Mustangs & Mustangs
13th Annual car show featuring Ford Mustang autos of all eras, ages and styles paired with beautifully-restored P-51 Mustangs.
Pass Holders Corner
Don't miss the free access your Annual Pass gives you for the Open Cockpit experience at the Tuskegee Airmen Event, "They Dared to Fly." Open Cockpits will take place on Friday (Feb. 19) and Saturday (Feb. 20) only.
Need to renew or purchase your Annual Pass? No problem, just call 863-984-3500 or email@example.com