The North American P-51 Mustang
P-51 Who?   Case # 352
44-74441     N9149R     Closed
Solved by: Lashbrook, Henry, Marshall
P-51 Who 352
Case#: 352
Date: Mar 19 2006
By: Dick Phillips
Status: Closed
Serial: 44-74441
Registry: N9149R
P-51 Who? Viewer Responses
Jeremy Lasbrook
03/27/2006 14:20
I think this one has been solved, but I dont see any info, not that I have much. I believe this Mustang was owned at one time by the late Bill Fornoff. It was flown in airshows by my grandfather Ken Lashbrook. I have a picture of my father and grandfather in this airplane in flight. I believe that Bill had two Mustangs with similar paint. As a side note my grandfather gave a ride at an airshow in this airplane to a very young Jeff Ethel. The story I was told is that it was Jeff's first ride in a mustang. He and my grandfather stayed friends for years after. Great web site!
Jeremy Lashbrook
03/27/2006 19:22
With further research here is what I have found on this Mustang. Note the ownership of JW Fornoff motor company. It is also interseting to note that this is the same paint scheme Bill and Corky had own their Bearcats. Serial #: 44-74441 Construction #: 122-40981 Civil Registration: N9149R Model(s): P-51D Cavalier 2000 Name: None Status: Wrecked/Destroyed Last Info: 1972 History: Delivered to RCAF as 9593. - BOC: Nov. 8, 1950. - SOC: Oct. 15, 1959. Trans Florida Aviation, Sarasota, FL, May 20, 1959-1962. - Registered as N9149R. J.W. Fornof/Fornof Motor Co., Houma, LA, Aug. 4, 1962-1972. G.R. Dunagan/Crawford & Co, Atlanta, GA, Mar. 14, 1972. - Crashed & destroyed by fire, Flowery Branch, GA, Dec. 20, 1972.
Gary Henry
03/31/2006 14:38
I watched Corky fly an impressive aerobatic display in this aircraft at Fort Worth (Oak Grove Airport, now Spinks) in the late 60's or early 70's. Ran across him again soon after in Harlingen. At that time, the aircraft was up for sale.
Bud Marshall
04/06/2006 18:11
Worked at Trans-Florida when this plane was rebuilt for Bill Fornof. Don't remember the year exactly but it was before 1965 when I left there to start Mustangs Unlimited. Went for a ride with Bill in the plane and as he was a Navy carrier pilot I do remember him landing tail wheel first. He was a great pilot and became a great friend even after I moved to Atlanta.
john steinmetz
06/09/2006 01:06
BUD MARSHALL !!!! Bud was co owner with Bailey Johnson of Mustangs Unlimited in Atl. He was one of the best old mustang guys on the planet. he was equal to dick harrison and jerry morrison of aero sport at chino. he worked on everybody's east coast and midwest mustangs. he built,worked on and fixed as many mustangs as anyone could ever dream of. i have a picture of eight mustangs in front of his hangar. it looked like aero sport; they had so many mustangs sitting around. one of the best people on earth. i am glad he is around to share his memories and knowledge with us. p.s. he also maintained bill ross's spitfire, chub smith's and bubba beal's bearcats as well as the fornoffs' two f8's and mustang. there was always a couple of a-26 invaders around too.
Darryl Crook
06/16/2006 14:04
I took my first Mustang ride in Paris Texas at an air park. The owner,had a stable full of warbirds. Does anyone know what happened to all of his planes. Burchinold I believe was his last name. I know he had a p-51,F8f Bearcat , B-17, B-25, AT-6 along with a host of other aircraft. If anyone has any info on what happened to that little Air muesem in Paris Texas I would like to know. Thanks Darryl
Alex Fornof
05/25/2008 18:30
my names Alex Fornof the nephew of Corkey and grandson of my papa bill. sadly i never met papa bill because he was taken in an aircraft accident when my father was 13. My father also flies F-15 in the USAF. Flying is in my family and im 18 now and i have 50 hours in the Cessna 172. it makes me happy to see the responses on my families planes.
Bill Testroet
11/25/2008 14:11
some background about Mr.Lasbrook's comments... Bill Fornoff owned 2 F8F Bearcats with the same paint scheme as this Mustang. He lost his life in one of them during an airshow, I believe it was at the Pax River Navy base. Corky eventually sold the other one, I believe it eventually ended up with the Bob Pond collection (not sure). Additionally, Bill had an SNJ also painted in this scheme during the time that Corkey was learning to fly. All aircraft were based in Houma, Louisiana. Bill was the local Cadillac Dealer in Houma, and I believe that the metallic colors on these aircraft are factory colors used on Cadillacs and oldsmobiles of the 70's era. Regards,
Keith Leckelt
11/28/2008 15:54
What a surprise, I remember seeing this beautiful plane flying over Houma when I was a kid. You could hear the distinctive sound of that engine and all would stop and marvel at Bill and Corky doing what they loved best. It seems that Bill had the F-8 at the time and Corky flew the P-51. I remember seeing both planes up close and what a sight they were. It was many years ago but seeing this makes it seem like yesterday.
Clay Clemmons
05/05/2009 18:07
This was the first P-51 that I ever saw. My Dad and I saw Corky Fornoff fly this Mustang at an airshow outside of Houston Texas in 1968. Corky's Dad, Bill, flew his F8F Bearcat at the same airshow. I have several photos of this Mustang from that airshow, and would be happy to post them if I only knew how. Any interest?
Clay Clemmons
05/05/2009 18:15
Too hasty there, I just saw the info for sending photos.
Claud Pipkin
05/22/2009 10:21
Was stationed at Nellis 1/63-12/65....We had an airshow and if I recall it was the Thunderbirds birthday....So 1963????.....Mr Fornoff was there with his Pink Mustang..(actually is was a Cadillac color "Rose").....He was there at the plane and allowed me to get up and look in the cockpit...Interior was all gray leather with darker center sections)... Gorgeous plane.
Ed Auble
06/07/2009 05:29
In 1967, I had just gotten my "wings" at Corpus Christi and was assigned to VS-33 at NAS North Island flying S-2s. Shortly after arriving, there was a celebration of 50 years of Naval aviation. Bill Fornoff flew a Bearcat painted, as I remember, in shades of copper. He started his take-off run, got to take-off speed, lifted the plane about three foot off the runway, pulled up the gear, kept accelerating till he reached the end of the runway, pulled the nose up and climbed. Routine for him. Unforgettable to me!
J. Bell
06/16/2009 20:32
My Father and Uncle flew out of Stone Mountain Airport just outside of Atlanta in the 70's. Mr. Dunagan had a clipped wing J3, a stearman and a AT-6 at the airport, I was just a kid but do rememder these planes well, I also remember him buzzing in the mustang. It was said that he pulled up slowed down close to his son who was flying the T-6 and when he broke away the mustang stalled.
jj patterson jr
09/03/2009 09:02
my dad work for bill fornof for many years/ he painted th p 51/ both f8f bearcats/snj trainer/ he also flew to many of his airshows as a flight mechanic jj jr
James A. Hamilton
09/22/2009 17:00
At the air show at Corpus Christi this year I saw THREE Bearcats. I told my friends I had only seen one in the air and that was in 1968... "Corky's" plane. Since this is a P-51 site, I will tell you that you need to be around when that big old engine cranks. It does not like to wake up. It is a process that will impress you with what "cubic inches" really mean. Thanks, James
j j patterson
07/07/2010 18:51
my dad painted this plane there were a total of 4 with the same paint scheme 2 f8f bearcats 1 p51 mustang and a navy snj trainer. I grew up around these planes and spent alot of time helping my dad mr. fornof and corkey hepled also. peace jj patterso jr
02/20/2011 15:20
Rod Gaynor
03/01/2011 15:57
I met Mr. Fornoff at an air show in Pensacola, Florida when my father was with the Blue Angels in the 60's. My dad held me up so I could see in the cockpit after the show. I will never forget the high speed pass Mr Fornoff made at the air show, if I remember right, it was 550 mph at low level.
Mike Kelly
08/28/2011 16:02
Decades ago when I was just a kid, I worked at Mustangs Unlimited for one summer. I remember George Roberts taking me for a ride in a Mustang. What a hoot. Those sure were the good old days. I went on to become an Army pilot, and still fly.
Anybody know what happened to George Roberts?

Mike Kelly

Mike Dunagan
09/29/2011 18:57
The above history is accurate. My father, Gordon Dunagan, bought the 51 from the Fornoff's in early 1972. It was a spectacular airplane -- I had the pleasure of riding backseat many times. Sadly, the story of the crash is correct too -- dad was flying in formation with my brother over north Georgia in late December 1972. He banked when breaking formation and it stalled and crashed.
ron fancher
01/11/2012 06:43
same beautiful color as bearcats. i have an autographed pic of corky & bill in their b-cats, given to e.p. fancher, ex hump pilot, crop duster, and fellow performer with bill at a corpus nas airshow in the late 60s
Vic Babin
12/01/2013 12:01
I had the privileged to fly in the Mustang with Mr. Fornoff twice . I was a salesman for him. We went to pick up special order Cadillacs...once to Greenwood, MS. and then to Miami, FL (landed at the Miami airport)...In Miami I picked up a 1968 black and white Eldorado Convertible with hounds-tooth interior . I still have a chrome Zippo with "JW Fornof" and a Navy emblem as a memento of our flights.
Fred Henry
03/13/2014 06:05
I was given rides in the Stearman and the T-6 by Mr. Dunagan and his son Danny.My brother and I worked at the F.B.O. in Gainesville Ga. where I still work today.I sadly remember the day of the accident. Gordon had just given a ride to my brother in the 51 before the crash occurred about four miles away.The aircraft was destroyed and the aviation community lost a very fine gentleman.Not many men would have taken time to give a couple of line boys rides in such classic aircraft, things my brother and I could have only dream of,, but the Dunagans did.Rest in peace Gordon and Danny, we still remember you.
Thomas Hesselgrave
12/27/2014 21:00
Alvin Hesselgrave was my father and his first time to fly this Mustang I was in the back seat. This was just after Bill Fornof brought it to Houma from Cavalier. Bill actually had a third Bearcat(his first)that landed after the engine quit on takeoff in a field. It had a drop tank that caught in the dirt and it flipped over and eventually burned. He also had a Fairchild PT-26 that flipped over taking off from Timbalier Island. After recovery I flew that one many times. Bill also flipped a Sea Fury on landing in Houma. The Mustang colors were Cadillac bronze, cordovan and white. I custom painted my 1956 Chevy to match. The last time I saw N9149R was in Houma just before it left for Gainsville. I loved that airplane.
Andrew Gosser
07/30/2016 11:01
Photo of me , reading air show , early 70s. Dad knew Hoover from his naa days, me sitting on the wing of that, can't post photo !
Emil Zupo
03/04/2018 18:19
I got to see Bill in his Grumman Bearcat and Corky in his P-51 at the Grumman Aircraft Air Show at Calverton Long Island back in May 1968. They also did several flying demonstrations at the Bethpage plant also. What great Pilots and a thrill to watch them.
Jock Stephenson
05/10/2020 09:16
I met the Fornof family in 1965 at the age 6 years old. Corky had a younger brother by the name of Terry. He and I were in Cub Scouts together.! My mother took over the responsibility of Den mother from Mrs Gloria Fornof. In 1967 Terry invited the entire Cub pack to the Bell Chase Air Show. There I was able to get inside the copper bronze P51. Also we all got to meet the Blue Angles in person. I was able to get up close to that beautiful G 58B Gruman Bearcat... As a youngster, watching that machine fly was the greatest day of my life and inspired me to go into the Aerospace industry. If you are still out there Terry I would like to connect with you again.. best regards. Jock Stephenson..
Mona Fornof Conlin
04/29/2021 00:03
I stumbled on this site by accident. I was the widow of Bill Fornof. Enjoyed reading the memories and the pleasures the writers received from their experiences!!
Rick Hammonds
10/07/2021 13:18
Like Mrs Mona Fornof Conklin, I stumbled on this site by accident as well. And I see a few names I haven’t seen/heard of in quite some time.

I too grew up in Houma, LA watching the Fornof’s fly. They, along with my Father, Charlie Hammonds, inspired me to pursue Naval Avation as my career. I truly loved watching them fly those beautiful machines over my Hometown.

In tribute to the Fornofs I flew over Houma in every Naval aircraft (Fighter & Attack types) I ever flew, to the dismay of more than one local; according to phone calls received by my Father and the Navy…LOL. They obviously weren’t around when Bill & Corkey would work over the Houma airport…

I did get one back seat ride in the Mustang! And that Cadillac bronze is still one of my favorite colors!!!
Al Jan
10/14/2021 19:22
Clay Clemmons, I think I might have been to that very same airshow. Spaceland Airport was the name at the time. Maybe still is. Bob Hoover was also there in his yellow Mustang. He flew a Shrike as well. Most of the routine was done with both engines feathered!
Case Closed!
P-51 Mustang

Send in Your Response
Enter "mustang" backwards:
Name and Response are shared with all readers. Email is private and never shared.