Click on the links below to news and stories regarding the P-51 Mustang.
N5132A Crashed - Fredricksburg TX - 2 fatal
Nov 17 2018 Cowden Ward Jr., pilot and passenger Vincent Losada (WWII B-17 Vet) were killed when the P-51 (Pecos Bill) crashed into an apartment complex parking lot in Fredricksburg TX. Witnesses stated they heard the engine sputtering before the crash. Nobody on the ground was hurt. Ward was attending the November WWII Pacific Combat Program at the National Museum of the Pacific War. He and his passenger had finished a flyover and were returning to the airport. Cowden Ward Jr. had been given rides to veterans across the USA for several years. He brought smiles to so many and will be missed.
Sep 30 2017 Summer 2017: John Muszala, owner of Pacific Fighters in Idaho Falls ID finished a beautiful restoration of the late Gerry Gabe's P-51A Polar Bear now owned by John Dowd. Muszala was not alone as his sons, Jared and Little John took on key roles to complete this difficult restoration.
Jul 16 2017 Pilot, Vlado Lenoch and passenger Bethany Root were both killed in the crash. Vlado was flying the P-51 "Baby Duck" which he had flown many times before. Lenoch was a seasoned P-51 test pilot and airshow pilot. Vlado Lenoch was well liked and a very friendly and approachable man. Bethany Root was the Atchinson County Airport manager. The crash occurred about 10 miles from the airport. Vlado was 64, Bethany 34. Witnesses reported the P-51 flying at low level before pitching up, rolling over and impacting the ground. Condolences to the family and friends.
G-TFSI Belly Landing During Airshow at Duxford
Jul 09 2017 P-51 44-84847, G-TFSI, "Miss Velma", was involved in an off airport belly landing on July 9 2017 at the Duxford airshow in UK. Pilot Mark Levy reported a rough running engine, so he turned back to the airport to land. Engine quit turning base, he landed safely gear-up in a field short of the runway. Very nice work by Mark Levy picking the best landing target and getting the gear back up before impact with very limited time.
Jul 01 2017 P-51B, "Berlin Express" has successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean on its way to the Duxford Legends Airshow in the UK. Piloted by Lee Lauderback of Stallion 51. Berlin Express was restored by John Muszala at Pacific Fighters in Idaho Falls ID. Warbird collector Tom Friedkin is the owner and has shipped other P-51s over the Duxford airshow in the past.
Mar 27 2017 Tempco TP-51D 44-84655 takes over the P-51 fun as TP-51C Betty Jane stands down for a needed rest and some deep maintenance work. 44-84655 is an original Tempco TP-51D. Its history includes two trips to South American Air Forces, Nicaragua and Bolivia. She returned banged up and not flying. The hulk was stored at the Cavalier facility in Florida for many years. Collings Foundation had American Aero Services put this horse back in the air in its ANG day glory for all to enjoy.
Warbird Collector Tom Friedkin has Flow West
Mar 25 2017 Warbird Collector Tom Friedkin has Flow West on March 14, 2017 at the Age of 81. Friedkin was a very successful Toyota distributor in Houston, TX. He has collected many warbirds including 7 or so P-51s over the last many decades. He's owned a rare A-36 since 1983. His business is now ran by his son, Dan Friedkin, who is also an avid warbird collector and pilot. Condolences to the Friedkin family.
A68-199 First Flight since 1978
Dec 16 2016 Congrats to Peter Gill for the restoration of A68-199 to flying condition. Last flown around 1978, she flew at the hands of Nick Caudwell with Peter Robinson as GIB on Dec 16 2016. Always a great day to have another P-51 airworthy!
Robert A Hoover flies West early in the morning of 10/25/16
Oct 25 2016 Every aviator knows the name "Bob Hoover". He left a permanent mark on many of us when we were young future pilots, as we watched his impressive antics in the Shrike Commander and the P-51 Mustang. "Best stick and rudder pilot ever", he has been called - and earned. Bob flew west early this morning, he was 94. His aviation career started as a teenager. He enlisted in the AAF in WWII. He was shot down, then escaped. He was test pilot. He revolutionized the airshow biz with his incredible flying in the Shrike Commander and the P-51 Mustang. He was the pace pilot for the unlimited class at the Reno Air Races for many years. Blue skies R.A. "Bob" Hoover.
G-MSTG Crashed - Hardwick UK - 1 fatal, 1 Serious
Oct 02 2016 On October 2, 2016, P-51 Mustang, G-MSTG, 45-11518, owned and flown by Maurice Hammond crashed at Hardwick Airfield in Norfolk UK. The crash happened while landing. It was reported that a significant crosswind was present during landing. The P-51 landed 3-point, then bounced once (or more) then struck a tree while Hammond tried to go-around. Hammond, 58, suffered serious injuries. His passenger, 84 year-old John Marshall was killed. Condolences to family and friends of John Marshall and a speedy recovery to Maurice Hammond.
P-51 Buyer/Seller/Owner Mike Coutches Gone West at Age 92
Sep 10 2016 One of the key people to fuel the civilian P-51 market in the late 1950's, Michael Coutches has gone west at age 92. Coutches ran his aircraft busines, American Aircraft Sales out of Hayward CA. They had recently moved it over the hill to Livermore. He bought surplus P-51s from McClellan AFB in Sacramento. He maintained, flew, upgraded and then sold them to civilian owners starting in the late 50's. Coutches has 2 P-51s in flying condition and a P-51H in the early stages of restoration. His son Steve has been doing the flying duties for many years.
Some of the P-51s he has owned: N2972D, he bought surplus from McClellan in September 1957. He also bought 45-11559 surplus from McClellan in December 1977 for $826! He owned yet to be Air Race Champion "Voodoo" in 1969. He also owned another Air Race Champion, "Dago Red" before it became such. The list goes on.
His flying P-51H, 44-64314, he purchased from William Hogan in 1966. His other P-51H, 44-64203, he kept at his home away from the public - only a few knew of it until the last 2 years when they published photos and info about it. Considered one of the civilian P-51 and warbird market pioneers in the late 50's, Michael Coutches of Hayward CA, Gone West Sep 10 2016. Condolences to his family and friends.
P-51D 44-73990 First Post-Restoration New Look
May 18 2016 The Henley's P-51D N51TH 44-73990 is now flying as 353rd FG "Alabama Rammer Jammer"
N351BD Crashed - Maricopa AZ - 2 fatal
Feb 05 2016 P-51 N351BD, 44-63634, Big Beautiful Doll, with pilot and passenger, crashed in Maricopa AZ about 35 mi south of Phoenix. Witnesses state the aircraft plunged straight into the ground exploding into flames. The aircraft is owned by Jeffrey Pino and based at Chandler AZ. Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Jeffrey Pino and Nick Tramontano.
P-51D 44-73990 First Post-Restoration Flight
Aug 25 2015 The Henley's P-51D N51TH 44-73990 flew for the first time after a long restoration completed by Aeroplace Services Inc in Denison TX. The current color is zinc-chromate but will be painted as 353rd FG "Alamabama Rammer Jammer"
Jul 20 2015 After a gear-up landing in 2008, VH-BOB has been in a full restoration. A defective landing gear clam shell door hinge was the culprit. The gear-up landing was performed flawlessly with both pilot and passenger escaping without injury.
May 16 2015 Col Bud Anderson and P-51 Old Crow statue dedicated at Auburn Ca airport on May 16 2015. Anderson grew up in the Auburn area and locals decided to honor their hero. Anderson is a very humble and approachable WWII veteran, who will always tell you he was just doing his job. A fitting dedication to Anderson, one of America's greatest generation.
May 06 2015 Ken Scholz bought P-51 44-84896, N5416V, in 1973. It has been stored at the Torrence CA airport for more than 30 years. In 2004, Ken Scholz died leaving the P-51 to his wife. In 2012, Marlene Scholz passed away. Proceedings began to bring the P-51 to auction - rumors started in 2013. It is time. The auction will be online June 2-4 2015.
P-51B 43-24837 First Flight as Berlin Express
Nov 07 2014 Max Chapman's P-51B 43-24837 Berlin Express flew for the first time on Nov 7 2014 with John Muszala at the controls. Muszala and his crew at Pacific Fighters has finished another stunning P-51 restoration - complete with the huge nose-art on the right side and very cool main gear tires. Capt. William Overstreet Jr flew Berlin Express during WWII. Overstreet passed away earlier this year at the age of 92. He was the pilot that chased an ME-109 under the Eiffel Tower in France and had many exciting flights during his career.
P-51 44-74453 N51ZW Flew after Restoration as Frances Dell
Oct 30 2014 Carl Patrick purchased 44-74453 a couple years ago, she was previously owned by the late Bob Baranaskas. Patrick hired Midwest Aero Restorations to perform a restoration as the 78th FG P-51 Frances Dell. Frances Dell flew today, Oct 30 2014, at Danville IL. Congrats to owner Carl Patrick and to Mike Vandeboncour and his crew at Midwest Aero Restorations. She is beautiful.
Big Beautiful Doll N351BD Safe Belly Landing
Oct 23 2014 P-51 44-63634, N351BD, Big Beautiful Doll, was involved in an on airport belly landing on Oct 23 2014 at Mesa AZ. Owner Jeff Pino gently set her down after the gear refused to extend. Pino was not hurt, but his P-51 will undergo some repairs in the near future. We hope to see him and BBD flying again in the coming months. Not something any aircraft owner or pilot wants to do, but nicely done Jeff.
P-51 44-74446 Crashes in Durango CO - 2 fatal
Jul 04 2014 At about 9:29 AM P-51 44-74446 N1451D crashed near County Rd 309A in Durango CO. The P-51 hit the road and crashed off the road. The pilot and passenger were both fatally injured. Accident occured shortly after take-off. A full NTSB investigation has started. Condolences to the families and friends. Blue skies to pilot/owner John Earley and instructor/px Michael Schlarb.
Eddie Andreini Lost in Airshow Crash
May 04 2014 Eddie Andreini, a veteran airshow pilot, was killed in an airshow crash at Travis AFB in California on Sunday May 4 2014. Andreini was performing an inverted ribbon cut in his modified Stearman when the crash happened. He had performed this maneuver many, many times before. He was a great performer and fun guy. He has had an airshow low-level waiver for a long time. Anyone who has been to the Watsonville Antique Fly-In has seen him perform in his Stearman and Yak. In 2011 Eddie added a P-51 to his hangar in Half Moon Bay. He will be sorely missed.
Mar 19 2014 Jerry Gabe of Hollister Ca, past owner of P-51 "Polar Bear" passed away on Mar 19 2014. Gabe owned Polar Bear from 1995 until 2012. He flew her until the early 2000's when Dave Morss took over flying duties. He was a friendly and kind man that would help you any way he could. He always had time to talk to you and was a wealth of information on the P-51.
Mar 14 2014 Ted Contri passed away March 14 2014 of cancer. Ted has owned and flown the P-51 Mustang since the late 1970's. A true gentleman and one of the nicest men you would ever know. He would give you the rudder off his P-51 it that would help you get to where you want to go. He will be dearly missed in the skies over Carson City NV.
Ray Hofman lost in his newly acquired Seafury N13HP
Feb 19 2014 Ray Hofman crashed in his newly acquired Seafury N13HP yesterday afternoon, Feb 18 2014, around 4pm local time at Breckenridge TX. Hofman was the pilot/owner of P-51 45-11391 also. He enjoyed fast cars and warbirds. Condolences to his family and friends.