Over 20 P-51s on hand this year. There was flying from 9am or so to 6pm with
some breaks in between. Some of
the P-51s stayed overnight at other locations, and then flew in for the day at
Wittman Field, Oshkosh. At Oshkosh, you can get very close to the planes and
pilots. That is one of the reasons that makes Oshkosh a special show to be at.
You can be only a few feet away as they taxi in and out of the P-51 area. See
and hear the merlins up close. Great stuff.
I was lucky enough to talk to some of the owners like Nathan Davis and Bob Baker, who I have met before. Both of them are top notch people. I met General Reg Urshler who flies the CAF P-51 "Gunfighter". Great man. I missed many of the pilots so I talked to some of their "crews". Had a good talk with a crew member of Butch Schroeder's "Lil Margaret". If you have not seen that P-51, you need to. It is beautiful.
I missed some of the P-51 vets during the week since I was only able to attend
the last half of the week. Clyde East and Bud Anderson were two that I missed.
Next year I will plan better. I was fortunate to hear WWII Vet Robin Olds, who
spoke to a crowd around Marius Maxwell's P-51 "Scat VI", one of the mounts of
Gen. Olds. Colorful and down to earth - I think that describes what I heard from
Gen. Olds. He was very entertaining and took questions from the crowd. The
retired General had many great stories to share. If you have the chance to hear
him speak, make sure you attend!
2005 P-51 Award Winners:
Bob Baker "Sweet and Lovely" - Returning Grand Champion
David O'Malley "Cincinnati Miss" - Judges Choice P-51
Paul Ehlen "Little Horse" - Best P-51
Max Chapman TP-51D - Preservation Award
Congratulations to all.
On a more somber note, we lost a P-51 pilot earlier in the week. Richard James
of Wisconsin was killed when his P-51 crashed while staging for the EAA warbirds
show. On Tuesday, 26th July 2005, he and three other P-51s were holding to the
east of Winnebago Lake for their turn in the show at Wittman
Field. Few details are known
at this time. They were flying a trail formation with Mr. James as number
four. He was the only aircraft involved in the crash. He will be missed
and was a well respected man and pilot.
Richard "Dick" James owned and was the pilot of the P-51 Mustang "Donna Mite".
Mr. James was laid to rest on Saturday 30 July 2005 in Wisconsin. He was honored with a well desereved fly-over of 8 P-51s and other warbirds.