Test your P-51 memory, knowledge and research ability!
by Eric Dumigan
Mike Vadeboncoeur, Neil Hodgins, Steve Tournay
This airplane should be C-FBAU #1 or #2 depending upon the date. #1 was 44-73140 owned by Dennis Bradley and The Canadian Warplane Heritage. This airplane was involved in an off airport forced landing which was successful from a survival standpoint but the airplane ended up hitting a barn I believe and caught fire. #2 airplane is 44-72826 and I am not sure where it currently is located.
The Mustang depicted in the photo is the late-lamented CF-BAU (SN# 44-73140) which was owned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum based at Mount Hope, Ontario, and piloted by the Museum's president, Mr. Dennis Bradley. The aircraft was destroyed several years ago by fire following an emergency landing brought on by an inflight engine failure. Mr. Bradley went on to purchase a second Mustang ("Old Boy"), but eventually sold it when he acquired a Douglas A-26 Invader (a step down in my books!).
Aaah, this is a shot of Dennis Bradley's late, lamented ex-RCAF Mustang C-FBAU, which I saw at close quarters many times during its too-brief time at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (of which outfit Dennis was for a number of years the president). Dennis subsequently owned another former RCAF Mustang, the ex-Tom Watson "Old Boy"; that one, also registered as C-FBAU, never received Canadian livery, and went back Stateside around 1991 (after Dennis acquired an A-26). The "Case 100" Mustang was resprayed in this beautiful early-50s 424 (Auxiliary) Sqn RCAF finish shortly after joining the CWH fleet in the fall of 1981. (424 "Tiger" Sqn was based at RCAF Station Mt.Hope, Ontario, the same field where CWH was and is based). Sadly Dennis (with CWH engineer Ken Klein in the jumpseat) had to deadstick "BAU" on a country laneway near Massey ON in July 1984; the Mustang hit a shed which was wired, and the resulting electrical fire consumed the P-51 --which was otherwise only lightly damaged. A great shame. I can tell you that this Mustang had one of the nicest paintjobs of any I've ever seen, and I've seen a good few. Your photo well shows the rather funky "tiger swirl" spinner, which looked very neat indeed at speed in the air! There was another P-51 restored more recently in 424 Sqn livery, but that one represents the mid-50s and is less dramatic than Dennis' airplane. The southern-Ontario scene is the poorer for the absence of "BAU"...Thanks for bringing back a pleasant memory.
I have to agree with Steve on the Tiger. Just for interest. The tiger was painted by Tommy Walton (wireless airgunner) who flew with the 428 Ghost squadron. He was paid $5.00 for each Tiger. My Uncle, F/O Murray E. Linkert (Pappy) was a flight instructor who's mustangs carried this Tiger. The BAU code was replaced with the Pv code in 1954. My Uncle's Mustang was PV577.