Dec 01 2020 Elsworth Getchell, 1935-2020. college football player, Army 82nd Airborne member, skydiver, aviator, mechanical engineer, airline pilot, warbird pilot and instructor, showman, character, one of a kind, flown west on Nov 28 2020.
44-74978 N74978 Post Restoration First Flight
Oct 15 2020 44-74978 N74978 has not flown since 1988. In 1988 it was owned by Arthur McDonnell and was reported destroyed in a hangar fire. On October 15, 2020 at Salinas CA, N74978 took flight after a beautiful restoration by Art Teeters and his crew at Cal Pacific Airmotive. Congtrats to Art, and Cal Pacific Airmotive in Salinas CA!
44-72059 N951HB First Post Restoration Flight
Sep 26 2020 44-72059, N951HB took to the air for the first time in decades. Congrats to Glenn Wegman and owner Herman Bayerdorffer. Glad to see another beautiful P-51 back in the air.
45-11513, Out of Storage, To Be Restored
Aug 31 2020 NZ2423, 45-11513 has been in storage, owned by John Smith, since the mid 1960's. In Aug of 2019, John Smith passed away at the age of 84. A year later, his P-51 has been sold and will be restored. Brenden Deere picked up NZ2423 in Aug, 2020 and moved her to Biggin Hill Historic Aircraft Centre, RNZAF Ohakea New Zealand. Pictures show an incredible time capsule of New Zealand P-51 History.
43-6859, N5528N To Be Restored
Jun 30 2020 43-6859, N5528N, "Thunderbird" is a historic P-51. In 1955, owned by Jim Cook, the aircraft crashed near Scotts Bluff NE after Cook bailed out. Later in the 90's, parts from the crash were recovered. In 2007, N5528N was registered to Warren Pietsch from Minot ND. Pietsch has been collecting parts for a restoration for years. In June of 2020, Thunderbird was delivered to AirCorps Aviation for a full restoration. AirCorps Aviation has turned out some stunning P-51 restorations lately. Already in anticipation of the day she flies again.
43-12112, Crashed 43, To Be Restored
May 30 2020 43-12112 crashed in Lake Hancock, Indiana in 1943. In the 1980's it was recovered by Ron Shirk. John Muszala owner of Pacific Fighters in Idaho Falls ID, acquired the P-51. In May of 2020 it arrived at Fagen Fighters in Granite Falls MN for a full restoration.
Frances Dell, 44-74453 Sold, Moving to Germany
Mar 31 2020 44-74453, N51ZW Sold, moving to Germany. In 2011, Carl Patrick bought N251HR from Robert Baranaskas. It was painted as Glamorous Gal. Patrick sent his P-51 to Midwest Aero Restoration and on Oct 30, 2014 44-74453 emerged as "Frances Dell". New owner George Raab will be based in Germany. He and Florian Hose will be the pilots.
Daryl Bond, P-51 Owner/pilot, flown West Mar 13 2020
Mar 14 2020 Daryl Bond has helped many pilots and fans over the years by giving rides, taking his P-51 to so many airshows and by allowing others to fly his P-51 when he could not. TF-51D Lady Jo has been used to teach many pilots the skills of mastering the P-51. Daryl has touched many lives and will be remembered as a hard working, kind and sharing man.
Dick Phillips, P-51 Historian, flown West Jan 9 2020
Jan 09 2020 Dick Phillips "Warbird Images". We have all seen this name and title on P-51 images for many, many years. Dick had a huge collection of P-51 and warbird images and also kept record of all of their histories. He has been a huge help to MustangsMustangs sorting and piecing together info on P-51s over the last 20 years - he has been doing it for 50 years. He is missed, but his P-51 and Warbird Images will live forever.
Tony Buechler, P-51 Owner, flown West October 10 2019
Oct 10 2019 Anthony Buechler, 67, passed away on October 10 2019. He was a very well-known P-51 owner and pilot. He owned P-51 44-72942, N5427V that he named "Petie 2nd" since 1985. Retired EAA President/Board Chairman Tom Poberezny: "Tony was a unique person; compassionate and generous with his time, using his airplane for a wide range of activities including philanthropic purposes," Tom said. "Everything Tony did was to the highest standards, never compromising professionalism and perfection as a doctor, a pilot, and an aircraft owner." Condolences to Tony's family and friends. He is missed.
John Smith, New Zealand, Flown West Aug 2019
Aug 31 2019 John Smith, has owned NZ2423, 45-11513 since 1964. It has been in storage, intact, in his barn in Mapau, New Zealand. In Aug of 2019, John Smith passed away at the age of 84. This P-51 is an incredible time capsule for P-51 enthusiasts. Smith also had a Mosquito in storage - what a rare bird. Thank you John Smith for preserving aviation history for so many years. Blue Skies.
Wiley Sanders, P-51 Owner, flown West March 27 2019
Mar 27 2019 Wiley Sanders, P-51 owner passed away on March 27, 2019 in his home town of Troy Alabama. Sanders was the founder/owner of Wiley Sanders Truck Lines. He raced at Reno for several years in the 80's in his P-51 named "Kangaroo". P-51 A68-1 was one of the "Atomic Mustangs" used for atomic tests in Australia. It was saved by Tony Schwerdt in 1967. The P-51 changed names to "Jeanie Too" in 1983 during the time when Sanders raced her at Reno. Jeanie Too has not been seen much in the past many years. Sanders owned two other P-51s in the 80's: 44-15651 N79111 and 44-74466 N10607.
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.