Weeks, Kermit : We Are the Past-Fantasy of Flight Audio Experience
For Fantasy of Flight founder Kermit Weeks, the opening of his aviation-themed attraction has been a natural extension of a lifelong, unbounded passion for aviation and aircraft. Weeks has been involved in aviation since his childhood and his enthusiasm for furthering public interest in aviation has never stopped growing. A skilled aerobatics competitor and aircraft designer, Weeks has earned acclaim both for his accomplishments in the air-as an aviator, and on the ground for his technical ability to build aircraft and his promotion of aviation and vintage aircraft restoration. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Kermit Weeks grew up in Miami, FL. His childhood interest in mechanical design and construction evidenced itself early. While still a teenager, Kermit had already taken to the skies and learned to fly.At age 17, while still in high school, he began construction of his first home-built aircraft-an airplane he completed and flew four years later. In 1973, at age 20, Weeks had began taking to the air in aerobatic flying competitions while pursuing an aeronautical engineering degree at Miami-Dade Junior College, the University of Florida and Purdue University. By 1977, Kermit had built the "Weeks Special," an aerobatic aircraft of his own design and qualified for the United States Aerobatics Team. In 1978, he was runner-up among 61 competitors worldwide, earning three Silver medals and one Bronze medal in the World Aerobatics Championships staged in Czechoslovakia. Over the span of a dozen years, he placed in the top three in the world five times and won a total of 20 medals in World Aerobatics Championship competition. He has twice won the United States National Aerobatics Championship and has won several Invitational Masters Championships in different worldwide competitions. During the late 1970's, Kermit's aviation interests expanded to include the acquisition, restoration and preservation of antique aircraft. In 1985, he began operating the Weeks Air Museum in Miami, a non-profit facility that housed much of his private collection and other antique aircraft owned by the museum. As his personal collection expanded, Weeks planned for development of a larger, more comprehensive facility in which to showcase and share his aircraft collection. In the mid-80's he began acquiring a 300-acre site near Polk City, FL., 20 miles southwest of Walt Disney World, for an aviation-themed attraction called Fantasy of Flight.In 1992, as development plans finalized for Fantasy of Flight, Hurricane Andrew struck the Miami area, virtually destroying the Weeks Air Museum facility (it was repaired and reopened in 1994) and seriously damaging most of the vintage aircraft within it. Some of Weeks' collection, which was damaged by the hurricane, is displayed at Fantasy of Flight . Fantasy of Flight allows the public to see part of the world's largest privately held vintage aircraft collection and show, via fascinating themed exhibits and displays, moments from aviation's storied past. For Kermit Weeks, the attraction's 1995 opening began another colorful chapter in a career devoted to furthering aviation. On May 26, 2000, Kermit Weeks wed Teresa Blazina during a private ceremony in Sedona, AZ. Now residing in Polk City, FL., Weeks' other interests include playing the guitar, banjo, fiddle and piano. He also enjoys snow skiing and water skiing. Since the dawn of time . . . man has been fascinated by flight. That fascination . . . is a physical reflection . . . of what we all long to return to . We all fly in our dreams . . . and when we awake . . . we long for that inner freedom. I hope . . . The Fantasy of Flight . . . will help light that spark within... to continue you on your journey."