FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The Hollywood stunt pilot whose World War II-era fighter plane crashed at a Nevada air show, killing himself and at least eight spectators, grew up in Fort Wayne and developed an early fascination with flying.
A woman who knew Jimmy Leeward in his youth tells The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne (http://bit.ly/pHH4XO ) she remembers the day the then 16-year-old Leeward got his private pilot's license at age 16.
Eight-five-year-old Joan Knapp once worked for Leeward's father's Fort Wayne air business. She says the 74-year-old Leeward "was born to fly" and is devastated by Friday's Reno-area crash that also injured more than 50 people.
Knapp says she treasures "a big hug" Leeward gave her several years ago after he landed a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis in Fort Wayne.