Click on the links below to view stories regarding the P-51 Mustang.
Robert Converse Passes Away - Apr 14 2013
14 April 2013
Robert Converse had been battling a tough illness for some time. He passed away Sunday Morning on April 14 2013. He owned, flew and raced #72 44-72811 \"Huntress III\" and owned her from 1988 to 2007.
Bill Yoak passed away March 12, 2013. He was always willing to share his knowledge and memories of the old survivors, never skipping the opportunity to tell a story or two. He was a big contributor to this site with his vast P-51 Survivor memories, his many posts in P-51 Who? make it a great trip down memory lane. The P-51 and warbird communities have lost a true craftsman and guardian of the P-51. Our sincere condolences to his family.
Jeff Harris, gone west, 5th March 2013
5 March 2013
Jeff Harris, owner of Allied Fighters in Chino CA, passed away on March 5th 2013. Jeff's work tells a story of his fine craftsmanship. He also had a way of making you feel like an old friend the very first time you meet. Harris was a very likeable and down to earth guy. He flew, re-built and maintained P-51s and P-38s and was well known around the west coast. There will be an empty spot in the Chino airshow this coming May where Jeff has been flying sorties in the P-51 and P-38. He will be missed. Blue Skies Jeff Harris.
Gordon Plaskett, a P-51 owner, restorer, pilot and trainer, passed away on Feb 26 2013. His restorations date back to 1974 at his shop in King City CA. Gordon also trained pilots in a TF-51. He owned several P-51s during his time including the famed Crazy Horse TF-51 N851D.
Freddy Cabanas, long-time pilot was killed in a crash in Cozumel Mexico on the afternoon of Tues Jan 15 2013. He was flying an extreme sports reporter named Jorge Lopez Vives who also died. The flight was part of a documentary to promote an airshow. Cabanas has flown in many airshows over his career and was hooked on aerobatics. He raced at Reno a few years back flying a Sea Fury "Conch Fury" and the P-51 "Lucious Lisa". Freddy flew a great line for photographers hugging the poles and scraping the brush. He was a gentleman and a character that was fun to be around. Cabanas was 60 and survived by his two children and wife.
Warbird owner, pilot and restorer Robert Odegaard of Kindred ND, crashed while practicing an airshow routine in his F2G Super Corsair at the Barnes County Municipal Airport in Valley City ND. Odegaard was killed. He was 66.
44-84850 to be Restored to Former Glory as "Su Su"
27 August 2012
Walter Bagdasarian recently purchased 44-84850 and has begun a full restoration. The P-51 will be restored as it was when owned by the late Nazzi Hirani as "Su Su". Hirani was a very enthusiastic warbird pilot and owner who shared the thrill of the P-51 with many fans. Bagdasarian plans to uphold the tradition. Su Su will fly again. Congratulations Walter and thank you for preserving memories of a fine man and yet another P-51.
Jerry Gabe has owned Polar Bear since 1995. 43-6006 crashed in the Alaska mountains in 1944. A recovery effort was launched in 1977 by Waldon "Moon" Spillers. He spent seven years restoring the P-51A using parts from a P-51D as well as parts recovered from the wreck. Gabe flew Polar Bear as well as Dan Martin to west coast air shows. Polar Bear made noise at the Reno Air Races starting in 2005. Gabe based N51Z out of Hollister CA and was part of a group of six P-51s at the field for a while. Hollister is down another P-51 as the list grows smaller and smaller. The new owner is John Dowd from Syracuse Kansas. Congrats to Mr. Dowd.
Brent Hisey Acquires P-51C Project 42-103740 N309PV
27 April 2012
Brent Hisey, owner of the famed P-51 Racer "Miss America" has recently picked up a P-51C project. The restoration will be by Warbirds Inc of Oklahoma City OK. The serial# is 42-103740 and it is registered as N309PV. As more information comes forward, we will post it here.
The Early Bird Foundation of the Netherlands has spent several years restoring 44-74923 to airworthy status. All their hard work and determination has lead to a first flight in March 2012. 44-74923 was raced at Reno by the late Gary Levitz and a red #38 "Miss Ashley". It was sold to the Early Birds Foundation in the late 90's and shipped to the Netherlands in a crate where is stayed until 2004. 44-74923 was finished in the 357th FG colors honoring Captain Robert P. Winks as "Trusty Rusty".
44-73704 N6168C Sufferred a Hard Landing at Hollister CA
24 October 2011
44-73704 suffered a hard landing at Hollister CA. The left main partially collapsed during a ground loop causing damage to the left wing and a subsequent prop strike. New owner Michael Malcolm reported that a crew pilot was performing a landing when the incident happened. No one was hurt, the weather was VFR. The P-51 recently went through a full systems check and upgrade from Dave Teeters of Salinas CA. Malcolm said that the repairs will begin asap to get this beautiful P-51 back in the air.
Veteran air racing pilot, Jimmy Leeward perishes in crash at Reno Air Races.
Jimmy Leeward in his P-51 Galloping Ghost crashed into the box seats in front of the main grandstands at the Reno Air Races. Many fatalities at the scene, including veteran air racer Jimmy Leeward and others at the hospital. The races were canceled for the rest of 2011. Preliminary photos and video point to mechanical failure as the cause.
Eddie Andreini was all smiles as he taxied out to runway 26 at Salinas Ca (KSNS) for his first flight in his newly restored P-51 44-73079. Formerly N151BL owned by famed Bob Love, 44-73079 is now N451EA and will reside in Half Moon Bay Ca. Andreini has thousands of Yak and Stearman flying hours so the move to the P-51 was easy. He looked like a pro on his first flight.
45-11540 sold, moving to the Czech Republic
2 August 2011
Jim Reed owned 45-11540, "Excalibur" since 1998. It is now sold to Peter Turek and moving to the Czech Republic.
44-64675 Sold to Paul Ehlen in July 2011
1 August 2011
44-63675 to be restored to it's former WWII colors as Sierra Sue. 44-63675 has been in storage for the few years, but is now owned by Paul Ehlen. She will begin a restoration back to airworthiness and original WWII markings in August 2011.
Dan Martin waved good-bye to an old friend on July 20 2011. P-51 N151DM, 44-72483 left her home at Hollister California without Dan inside. Ridge Runner is now owned by Pat Harker. She will be based in Minnesota. Harker is far into a P-82 Twin Mustang Restoration. Ridge Runner is in good hands but will be missed by all of us on the west coast.
During a break to land, Rob Davies in A68-192 "Big Beautiful Doll" was hit just forward of the P-51 tail by the right wing tip of an AD-1 Skyraider. Both aircraft were jolted severely. The AD-1 lost several feet of wingtip, lost momentary control but regained control and landed safely. The P-51 pitch control was lost and pilot Rob Davies ejected the canopy and then himself with only seconds left to impact. Both pilots are OK!
February and Fragile but Agile visit Duxford
1 July 2011
A portion of the FAF (Friedkin Air Force) is visiting Duxford for the July 2011 Flying Legends show. The two P-51s were disassembled, crated and shipped over to the UK, then un-crated and re-assembled and will be flown in the show. As of July 1, Steve, John and Stevo Hinton had both of them on their gear and will be busy to get them 100% airworthy. Friedkin is not shy to share his warbirds as he has done this before. Duxford Legends is definitely on the bucket list.
After 4 years of work the Cavanaugh Museum P-51, 44-72339 N251JC, is flying again in original WWII markings as "Brat III".
N314BG 44-73140 Sold June 2011
22 June 2011
Les Heikkila owner Petie 2nd N314BG since 2004. This P-51 has been "Petie 2nd" since the late 80's. The new registered owner is G E Air Inc of New Iberia Louisiana. Heikkila could be seen with Petie 2nd at Oshkosh and was present at the GML 2007.
Lewis Shaw Sold N6168C 44-73704
9 May 2011
Lewis Shaw purchased Lefty Gardner's P-51 "Thunderbird" Race #25 in 1994. He removed the paint, polished the fuselage, added Korea Markings "FF-704" and a silhouette Thunderbird nose art. The work performed by Ezell Aviation. The P-51 has been kept in great shape and at the GML 2007 sported rockets and drop tanks for a cool look. The proud new owner is Michael Malcolm of Aspen Colorado. The reg will stay and she will be based in Aspen. Congrats to Mr. Malcolm.
In December of 2009 Lone Star Flying Museum purchased TF-51 44-73458 N4151D. After a full IRAN inspection and new green-noser paint N4151D is now "Galveston Gal".
In 2010, 44-74494 N72FT went to S. Africa. Now, 44-63899 has been sold to Stu Davidson and is also flying in S. Africa. 44-63899 is now "Queen of Hearts" and is attracting quite a crowd every time the hangar opens.
Taken back by the bank during the most recent Frank Taylor ownership, Dago Red has been sold to a former race crew member and BMX rider Eric Hoffman. Speculation zooms as to the future of the fastest Unlimited Racer at Reno.
P-51 sales in 2010 declined a bit but hard times have forced some hard decisions.
N72FT, "Mustang Sally" sold and moving to South Africa. After re-assembly, new owner Menno Parsons had Stu Davidson do the honors for the first flight in South Africa. This P-51 has had many different paint schemes and been based in the UK and in the USA.
Paul Besterveld has purchased 44-73454, N2051D and will restore it keeping the same scheme but adding a polished metal fuselage. This Is It was owned since 1984 by Richard Bjelland and seen on the west Coast.
P-51 Air Racing "Rookies" Chuck Greenhill and Rod Lewis are schooled by the best like Stu Eberhardt and earn their air racing wings for the upcoming Reno Air Races in September 2010.
Nazzi Hirani crashed in his P-51
11 March 2010
Hirani was described as one of the nicest persons you could meet. He regularly took the time to show everyone his P-51 and enjoyed meeting new friends. He enjoyed spending time at air shows talking to the crowd. He was killed instantly when his P-51 veered off landing course and tumbled into hangars at Stellar Airpark in Chandler Arizona. Details of the crash are not yet available. There was no radio call for help. Impact was estimated at over 100 mph. A fire prevented an immediate rescue attempt from witnesses at the airport. Nazzi was a true patriot and proud to be an American. Everyone who new him always spoke highly of Nazzi.
Long time P-51 owner and pilot Tom Wood lost a tough battle with lung cancer on Feb 4 2010. Wood has owned and flown the same P-51 for 40 years, quite an accomplishment. He also owned and flew a T-6 and an F-86 Sabre. Wood was 77, just a few days from his 78th birthday.
Cielos LLC purchased N251BP from Bernie Jackson in mid 2009. New paint and a few upgrades were next: 78th Fighter Group white and black checkered nosed "Buzzin Cuzzin" flown by Lt. William B Spengler of the 83rd FS was chosen and 44-84753 was sent to Pacific Fighters in Idaho to do the work.
The P-51 Mustang is the most popular warbird fighter of all time. Many P-51s changed owners in 2009 . . .
For years, and years, and more years I watched P-51 44-73751 rot and weather on the southeast ramp at San Jose Muni (now San Jose International). Rumors would fly about why this P-51 is sitting outside ...
David B. Lindsay Jr., owner and Architect of Cavalier Aircraft
Corporation, died on July 2, 2009 at home in Florida. Lindsay was 86 years
old and had been battling Parkinson's disease for several years. He had experienced
6,000 hours of flying in many aircraft, especially the P-51 Mustang.
Lindsay was president of and founded Air Caicos,
an airline that worked in the West Indies. He also published the Sarasota
Herald-Tribune which was founded by his father.
John Bagley's Cavalier Returns to Sky
15 June 2009
John Bagley's Cavalier F-51D 67-22579 crashed in
December of 2006 after an engine failure. Bagley skillfully put her down
on a busy highway
median close to the airport in Rexburg Idaho. He came out with minor injuries
but the aircraft was substantially damaged.
After nearly 18 months of work, she flies again. N551BJ (formerly N251RM)
was seen in a bare metal finish with no markings at the Rexburg Airshow. We
are looking forward to seeing the finished paint when completed. Congrats to
John Bagley and crew for some hard work the last year or so.
Thanks to Travis Hopkins for the report.
Famed Racer, Dago Red >> Sold
20 May 2009
Ryan and Greg Costo's dream of bringing Dago Red back to the
winner's circle at the Reno Air Races, fell short. Costo's sold the famed
multi-year champion in May 2009 to Frank Taylor. Taylor was one of the
original creators of Dago Red back in 1981. Taylor is joined by three others
in a partnership to add a 7th first place trophy for Dago Red.
Last year in 2008, Dago Red was flown by Dan Martin and powered by a Sparrow
Rolls-Royce V-12 and came up just a bit short finishing in 2nd place. The crew
put together a very successful week and even flew home with the race motor.
Dago Red was in Hollister, being rebuilt for the 2009 races, but that came to
an abrupt stop. The racer was broken down, put on a flatbed truck and sent to
Chino. Hopes for any showing in 2009 are doubtful.
P-51 owner and pilot Robert Baranaskas died when his P-40 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on April 5. He was practicing for an upcoming airshow on the east coast. Baranaskas was 61.
A Vintage P-51 Mustang can be yours for a cool million (or two)!
The P-51 Mustang continues to be a hot seller ...
Elmer Ward, P-51 owner, pilot, restorer and parts supplier passes
after long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Tough summer for P-51 and warbird fans. Two dedicated owners
and pilots were lost in separate accidents.
The P-51 Mustang is still a popular selling warbird. 2006 has
seen many new P-51 owners.
The warbird community is in shock.
Art Vance, long-time P-51 owner and pilot, Reno Air Race
Check Pilot, crashes near Cookville Tn. while ferryng the Chino Air Museum's Hellcat. Vance, 64 from Sebastapol, Ca, was killed.
Richard James, owner of P-51D, 44-74417 N6327T, crashed while
holding with three other P-51s during the EAA Airventure show in Oshkosh Wi.
James, 56 of Fennimore, Wi was killed.
Bob Baker with his 2nd P-51, Sweet and Lovely, brings home the
gold with an excellent presentation at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI. The
competition was extrememly tough ...
Don Hinz, flying the CAF P-51C -- Tuskegee Airmen by Request --
redtail, was killed when the aircraft lost power during an airwhow and
crashed in a residential area of Red Wing, Mn. in May 2004.
P-51 crash during maneuvers over Urbana Indiana takes the
life of local businessman, James Shuttleworth, owner and pilot of TF-51
44-72977 N93TF, Scat VII.
Jeff Michael and passenger Butch Cauble escape from powerless
P-51 45-11381 N551CB as they emerge under the overcast at about 1,200 feet agl
in a North Carolina wooded area. Both Michael and Cauble were wearing chutes
and jumped from -- Glamorous Glenn III -- owned by Gary Honbarrier.
Warbird collector and P-51 owner/pilot John Macguire died
of a heart attack in August 13, 2001. Macguire was founder of the War
Eagles Air Museum in Santa Teresa, NM. Macguire was 80 years old.
P-51, It's About Time, owner and pilot, Heber Costello, died
when his C-185 crashed during a landing in Louisiana.
While on short final he had to avoid a vehicle and hit
power lines and crashed.
With overcast and a slight crosswind, new P-51 owner Ken
McBride became a P-51 pilot. After lessons from Stu Eberhardt and
Dan Martin, McBride gets airborn in his RCAF P-51 Mustang.