Fantasy of Flight E-news
fantasyofflight.comFebruary  2012
Seeking an Unforgettable
Valentine Adventure?
Balloon Love is in the Air Valentine 2012
Set your hearts on a
brilliant and unforgettable journey... together.
A Fantasy of Flight romantic balloon ride
is just the ticket!

February 9-11

"They Dared to Fly":

Tuskegee Airmen


Fans of the thrilling new film Red Tails meet the genuine heroes. In honor of Black History month, join several of the original Tuskegee Airmen as they share their personal experiences of wartime military service during segregated America. Don't miss this opportunity to meet the brave men who fought America's enemies abroad while enduring racism at home.



Three Tuskegee Airmen will be appearing, including Leo Gray, 91, Ft. Lauderdale, who served as a consultant on the recently released Lucas Red Tails film;  Daniel Keel, 89, Leesburg; and George Hardy, 88, Sarasota. Of the original group of nearly 1,000 trained pilots and 15,000 ground personnel that made up the Tuskegee Airmen, roughly 50 pilots and 200 ground crew are alive today.



March 2-3

"Breaking All Barriers":

Amazing Women in American History


From the bravery of the WASP, the first females to fly military aircraft, to the strength and motivation that was symbolized by the non-traditional roles of "Rosie the Riveter," the women of WWII made an impact on the world and gave hope for new generations of "barrier-breaking women" to continue challenging the status quo. Join us as we feature extraordinary people including original WASP, Rosie the Riveter and history makers of today.
Historical photo of four WASP


P35Republic Seversky P-35

Restoration Project Shines On


P-35 in Resto Shot 020212


Among the rarest airplanes in the collection, Fantasy of Flight's 1940 Republic Seversky P-35 is one of only three that exist in the world, and once it's restored, it will be the only flying example. Its life began as an EP-106 (European Pursuit) but underwent a wartime transformation into a P-35 by lengthening its fuselage and adding two guns. The P-35's place in history is secure as the first US Army Air Corps pursuit aircraft to have retractable landing gear and an enclosed canopy---which became de rigueur for all pursuit aircraft that followed.  Restoring it is a labor of love for the specialists at work.


P-35 and Rick Reeves 020212

Is it a hard task? Rick Reeves (above), the metal specialist at Fantasy of Flight, is restoring the airframe of this beautiful old bird and  knows it inside and out. "The biggest issue is the lack of literature on this aircraft because it is so rare. But I don't look at it as difficult. I look at it as a challenge." Asked if he is happy with his progress, Rick replies, "I am satisfied up to this point, but I can always go back and work on something if we determine it is needed. At Fantasy of Flight, we are given the time we need to do the best work. And a piece this rare deserves the very best."

P-35 Tail section 020212

The airframe restoration has absorbed about 1 years of concentrated work from Reeves so far. In that time he has focused on fairings, cowlings, and small accessories, working his way up to larger parts. Among the items on Rick's list of completed parts are the beautiful tail cone (which looks like it should belong to Buck Rogers--see above), horizontal stabilizer, vertical fin, turtle back, hatch, carburetor intake, flaps, wing tips, main landing gear fairings, and cowl flaps.


When will it be done, Rick? Stoically he answers, "When it's done."

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Fantasy of Flight
1400 Broadway Blvd. S.E.
Polk City, Florida 33868

In This Issue
Love is in the Air
Tuskegee Heroes Return
P-35 Gets Its Shine On
nightFlight Returns
Kermit's Blog Activity
Guests in the Spotlight

nightFlight artwork


nightFlight Fans Rejoice!  

New Phase 3 Date:

March 10


Phase 1 and 2 of nightFlight netted a treasure trove of paranormal evidence and have focused the next phase of the investigation to seek out specific "high response" areas at Fantasy of Flight.


What new data awaits our investigators during Phase 3?


Reservations are now open for the March 10 nightFlight investigation.

KermitBlogKermit's Blog

Growth Spurt:

A Year in Review


Kermit just did a huge update on his action-packed blog, adding 30 new entries reflecting on the adventures of the year past.


And what a year it has been! According to Kermit, "In some ways, I'm glad it worked out that wayKermit head, as it allowed me time to reflect on all that I've done over the past year. Sometimes we don't always see the forest growing for the trees and taking the time to reflect on what what we've done, where we've been, and what we've accomplished is an important part of the Journey."


So kick back, spark up the laptop, and take it all in.  As Kermit says, "When I grow up, I want to be me!"  


Extra Goodies for Blog Watchers

Looking for some exciting new updates on the Benoist Flying Boat?  Keep an eye on the blog devoted to our Benoist project at Fantasy of Flight. Some new entries are on their way.

Benoist postcard

Big things are happening on the Benoist front!

VisitorsOfNoteFantasy of Flight Guests "Light that Spark Within"

Andrea Thompson and gson zip 70 bday 012212

Andrea Thompson and her grandson celebrated her 70th birthday by zipping on the thrilling zip-line at WingWalk Air!
 Spelts in ball turret 012012

 Lt. Col. David Spelts (ret.), 88, who flew 30 missions during World War II as a B-17 ball turret gunner, gave into his friends' insistence that he climb back into the turret at Fantasy of Flight. No problem at all. In fact, Col. Spelts said Fantasy of Flight's authentic Sperry Ball Turret was "surprisingly comfortable."


Benoist family and Art Peters with Ken 012912


Fantasy of Flight welcomed a visit from the descendents of Tom Benoist, developer of the Benoist XIV, which was flown in the first commercial passenger flight on January 1, 1914. Fantasy of Flight is constructing an authentic replica of the aircraft with the goal of celebrating the centennial of the historc flight. Learn more about the process of this extraordinary project. 

MarkYourCalendarMark Your Calendars!  


March 2-3

Legends & Legacies -- "Breaking All Barriers":

Amazing Women in American History

See Brochure


March 16-18

Boy Scout Aviation Camporee

 Learn More


March 29

Sun 'n Fun Splash-In at Fantasy of Flight

Learn More 


March 31

15th Annual Mustangs and Mustangs

Learn More