MAY 18, 2017, Sebring Florida – Today SAA staff and Executive Director, Mike Willingham and his team proudly present Hendricks, the new MASCOT to represent all that is exciting, educational and fun about Sebring’s U.S. Sport Aviation Expo.
Hendricks who is (clearly) colorful and dynamic embodies many of the same traits as the hundreds of aviators and aviation enthusiasts that attend the iconic event every year!
The name Hendricks is a historical one and pays homage to the B-17 pilot school that once operated near Sebring – Hendricks Field. The flight school operated from 1942 to 1945 and was named in honor of 1st lt. Laird Woodruff Hendricks, Jr.
1st Lt. Hendricks was born in Ocala, grew up in Jacksonville, graduated from USMA, West Point N.Y. in 1029, and was tragically killed in a B-17 crash in England in July, 1941… just three days after he arrived to train other RAF Pilots.
On January 14, 1942, the Sebring Area base was officially named in honor of Lt. Hendricks. On January 29, 1942, the first B-17 was flown into Hendricks Field where pilot and crew training began almost immediately. In January 1943, Hendricks Field became a 4-engine pilot school with approximately 120 B-17’s in service and ultimately trained over 10,000 pilots.
Willingham wanted to create a fun yet memorable mascot that could be used to communicate various details throughout the year leading up to the event. “We wanted to identify Hendricks as an aviator and enthusiast, and tap into some legitimate aviator traits and characteristics, as well as be playful with some of their more stereotypical characteristics-—all the while paying homage to the area’s rich and powerful aviation history.”
Look for HENDRICKS U.S. Sport Aviation Expo mascot on Facebook, in ads and on our website!