History / Previous Identities:
1946: Surplus USAF, Walnut Ridge AFB AR
1946: Jul 22 - Sold surplus to Steve Beville and Bruce Raymond for $3,500.
1946: Jul 29 - NX79111, Steve Beville / Bruce Raymond
1949: "Galloping Ghost", race # 77
1950: Operations for ferrying and air racing. From Aug 30 1950 to Oct 31 1950
1950: Jack Hardwick
19__: Rumors: possibly went to Israel
195?: Irwin S. Schwartz
1956: Feb 21 - FAA canceled registration for non-response to audit
1956: Apr 9 - Sold in auction, Alamo Airways Inc.
1958: Jul 16 - sold to Ralph Blum, Alhambra Ca
1959: Jan - rear seat installed
1959: Aug 19 - N79111, Ralph Blum, Alhambra Ca
1963: May 25 - N79111 sold, Cliff Cummins, Ontario Ca
1969: Raced at Reno, stock airframe, "Miss Candace", race #69
1970: Mods to the canopy, wings clipped, bellied in desert, 9/18, after an engine failure, lots of damage
1971: rebuilt Long Beach
1972: Won Medallion Race at Reno
1973: 2nd at Reno Air Races
1976: blew engine enroute to Reno, did not show.
1977: 3rd at Reno, but blew engine #69 Miss Candace
1979: May 19 - sold (Dennis Schoenfelder and Dave Zeuschel) #69 Jeannie
1979: Set NEW qualifying speed of 446.93 mph - Cliff Cummins pilot
1980: Jan 24, N79111 sold, Sanders Lead Company Inc. / Wiley Sanders, Troy AL
1980: GOLD WINNER! #69 Jeannie - Mac McClain pilot at 433.01 mph
1981: GOLD WINNER! #69 Jeannie - Skip Holm, Rookie year, at 422.3 mph
1982: Modified clipped wing, #69, did not qualify: broken rod, runaway prop governer
1983: Jul 18, N79111 sold, Jimmy Leeward / Bahia Oaks Inc, Ocala FL ... "Spectre #X"
1984: "Leeward Air Ranch Special" #44, silver
1985: "Leeward Air Ranch Special" #9, yellow
1988: Reno - engine problem, landed on dirt road, nosed upped and hit prop
1989: Last year flown for some time, put into storage
2005: Great News! Leeward will bring back the "Ghost". N79111 will return to air racing as the "Galloping Ghost".
2006: The Ghost was not ready in time to race this year
2007: Parts of the aircraft are all around the US trying to get finished in time for Reno. We sure hope they make it. I've seen plenty of parts in Dan Martin's hangar over the past several months.
2008: Restoration continues
2009: working hard to make Reno Air Races in September
After several months of exhausting work, the racer was just not quite ready to compete in the 2009 Reno Air Races. Jimmy Leeward and his crew worked some very long days and nights doing everything they could, but there was just too much work and not enough time. The Ghost has flown though, which is great news!
2010: Reno - the Gold Race that Never Was. Sunday Gold canceled, so we do not know how fast this racer really is. It looks fast and Leeward showed some speed on a few laps, but working from dead last on Thursday, he was never really challenged as he climbed the ladder to make it to the finals. The race on Sunday was canceled due to high winds.
2011: September -- Counting the days . . . again.
2011: Sep 16 - During the Friday Gold Heat
Jimmy Leeward perished in the crash of the Galloping Ghost on the third lap in front of the main grandstands. A mechanical issue developed causing a pull-up and roll over the top and then a near vertical decent before impact. Jimmy was a legend in air racing and a veteran P-51 pilot with thousands of warbird hours. He was a gentlemen and man of his word. He loved to race and fly. He worked for five years to get the Ghost ready to race. This year he and his team came to Reno to win. The Ghost was very fast and they were contenders for first place.
He passed us at pylon 2 shadowing Rare Bear and challenging him for 3rd place. By the time he pulled up off the course he had possession of 3rd and setting sites on Will Whiteside in 2nd. Leeward came to race and to win. He was very no nonsense and down to earth. He was 74 and lived in Ocala Florida, a friend to all in unlimited air racing.
Everybody was a fan of the Ghost and his Team. The return of the Ghost sparked a renewed passion in air racing. Reno will not be the same without Jimmy Leeward turning laps. Condolences to his family and crew who have supported the races for many, many years.
Blue Skies and Tailwinds, Jimmy Leeward
16th September 2011
Great article about The Galloping Ghost in the 1940's National Air Races