6 thoughts on “The Leeward Air Ranch

  1. Greetings,
    I read your article with great interest. I am doing some research on local history from where I was originally from. (Vandergrift, PA) Aviation has always interest me. In 1982, I took flying lesson’s at the Leechburg airport.
    The high school I had graduated from was Kiski Area High School, built on the site of the Vandergrift Airport, around 1964.
    Thats all that I had ever found, then I stubbled upon a Pittsburgh-Post Gazett article from November 25, 1942. A CAP squadron (315-15) set up at the Vandergrift Airport, and leased from owner, Al Leeward, “who is now with the Army Ferry Command.
    Are these the same? Is the grass strip outside of Tarentum? (Its 16 miles between towns)
    If they are the same people this would be a great inroads to my research.


  2. my heart goes out to his family & friends, he died doing what he loved & it’s obvious he did what he could to NOT crash into the grandstands in Reno air races today ! so sorry for all there today. But everyone who goes to the air races knows this is a dangerous sport, knowing that planes have crashed in the past

  3. i analyzed the videofootage and one thing is very clear:the pilot was not flying nor directing the airplane anymore.
    the moment it suddenly climbed,roplled and than came down like a KAMIKAZE plane with FULL ENGINE performance the MODIFIED warbird became an UNMANNED WARBIRD MISSILE.
    the impact splintered the craft and splashed the pilot into pulp.thats reality of a crash.

  4. In 1952, during the Leeward’s aviation business in Indiana, they purchased a B-17 from the Assemblies of God World Missions, Springfield, MO. Leewards in turn sold it to the French Government, and Jimmy told me that he flew it with his family to Paris and took movie film on the flight. Unfortunately, he had not found the movie film when I spoke with him by phone in the 1990s. Many years later the B-17 wound up in England where it was restored for a static display. Readers who have visited the American Museum at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and admired the B-17, formerly called Mary Alice, probably did not know about Jimmy Leeward’s connection. Wayne Warner, Retired Director Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, Springfield, MO

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