Test your P-51 memory, knowledge and research ability!
by Dick Phillips
Roger Baker, Mark Hrutkay, Martin Kyburz, Joe Scheil
This is 44-74543. Vartanin had it for a while. Is this the airplane that sat on a used car lot somewhere in New England for several years?
Easy one. This is Chuck Greenhill's new P-51 restoration "Geraldine" RCAF #9252. This is when it was sitting at a Chrysler lot outside of Syracuse NY in the late 60's early 70's. My father took me for a motorcycle ride from home in Oriskany NY (about 50 miles or so) in 1971 (I was age 11) to see it. I sat in it and played in for about an hour or so (I've got about 8 Polaroids of it and me and dad). It was missing the radiator, and cockpit was gutted out. A few year before dad and a few friends from Mohawk Airlines tried to buy it (when a bunch of airline mechanics could do something like that), but they didn't have any luck with the owner. It was in some kind of dispute over ownership at this time and eventually got disassembled and moved to Johnstown NY where it sat outside for a few years (still dissembled) until the airport closed down (there was a photo of it in Air Classics in the late 70s/early80s of it there). Then eventually it went to Chicago into storage and then to Chuck Greenhill.
This is former RCAF 9252, ex 44-74543 which became N4543 in December 1959; subsequent fate is unknown, but this may well be one of those 'scrap-metal Mustangs' that possibly found their way to Guatemala (FAG) during the early 60's..... The PV-code is for No. 424 Sqdn. RCAF (which replaced the older BA- code).
Direct from Canastota, NY! This derelict mustang was the one to fire my imagination in the 80's as she was seemingly unloved and needed a savior. It was a shame I was only 11 yrs old! I remember her in air classics, and what a sight. She was 44-74543 ans went to the RCAF as 9252 6.12.50 and left 17.9.57 to Defuria and Intercontinental Airways. I am not sure how she ended up in NY, but Richard Vartinian owned the aircraft from 65' to the 90's... The aircraft I believe became N5500S...
I have a photo of this airplane when it was sitting in a field across from Denman Pontiac dealership in Central Square NY (north of Syracuse) I drove past it many times while it was there. I never looked close enough to see RCAF markings. I had assumed it was one of the surplus P-51s sold by the NY Air Nat'l Guard based at Hancock Field. I used to see them flying there until they disposed of them for cheap, rumored to be $500 each. This was about 1954. Now it seems I was mistaken. Thanks for publishing this page.
This airplane is the reason I am a warbird fanatic! I lived in N.Syracuse behind Mickey's Bait Shop on South Bay Rd. I was around 9 or 10 and used to ride my 20" single speed stingray bicycle to Brewerton just to play on this plane! Then one day it was gone. I have been to Oshkosh and have talked to P-51 owners, nobody had ever heard of the P-51 in the weeds sitting next to Rt.11. Thank You Google!!!