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Delphic P-51 Gear

Warbird Digest


WWII Bombers
The North American P-51 Mustang
Test your P-51 memory, knowledge and research ability!
P-51 Who
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Reno race #69  
by Mike Shelton  
M.Luchessi, S.Wittenaar, L.Smiley, W.Yoak, D.Leeward  
Reader's Responses:

Mike Luchessi
01/14/2001 23:12
Ah, yes, it's the former two-time Unlimited National Champion, race 69 Jeannie, at the time owned by trucking mogul Wiley Sanders. Prior to that, the aircraft was owned and raced by Dr. Cliff Cummins as Miss Candace. After becoming disenchanted with air racing, Sanders sold the a/c to veteran racer Jimmy Leeward, who initially dubbed it race X (10) Spectre, but eventually painted the racer bright yellow with red trim and renamed it Leeward Air Ranch Special. The racer remains in a hangar at Leeward Air Ranch in Ocala, FL, awaiting the necessary sponsorship dollars (not to mention an engine!) to take to the pylons once more.

According to a highly respected publication entitled "Mustang: The Racing Thoroughbred" written by Dustin Carter and Birch Matthews, this racer N79111 is most likely NOT the former Cleveland era racer known as the Galloping Ghost. They claim that the original Ghost was shipped off to Israel after air racing ended in Cleveland in 1949, and that's where the record stops. Although this is not 100% certain, I believe this is now the most widely accepted view. Thanks.
Sander Wittenaar
01/17/2001 17:03
N79111 aka Jeannie, probably taken at Reno 1980, owned by Wiley Sanders
Leo Smiley
01/18/2001 13:13
Race 69 "Jeannie" N79111, 44-15651, looks like 1979 or pre-Reno 1980 before the belly landing. The ex-"Galloping Ghost" of post-war racing, and ex-"Miss Candace" (Cliff Cummings) she was sold by Wiley Sanders to Jimmy Leeward after a very hard race year in 1982. Leeward raced her as #X "Spectre", #44 and #9 "Leeward Air Ranch Special". She hasn't competed since 1988 after a hard landing. Probably the longest and most varied racing history of any mustang and one of the most modified.
William D. Yoak
01/18/2001 23:20
This Mustang has some of the richest post-war history behind it. It was raced during the Cleveland era as #77 The Galloping Ghost and registration no. NX79111.I am not certain as to the history of it subsequent to the "Cleveland days" and prior to its racing days at Reno. It was purchased by Dr. Cliff Cummins in about 1960. The aircraft was based at Chino for several years under his ownership prior to when it was first entered at Reno in 1969 (in stock configuration).It was badly damaged at Reno in 1970 during a forced landing following its first set of racing modifications.

It did not return to competition until 1972 following another ambitious modification program which included the efforts of engineers: Bruce Boland and Pete Law , and the late Frank Sanders at his "shop" which was in Long Beach,CA. Cliff and this racer were plagued with several "blown" engines during the years,but they still demonstrated excellent potential with the light weight and aerodynamically clean airframe which this aircraft was known for. Cummins raced Miss Candice #69 from 1972 through around 1977 or'78 when it was sold to Wiley Sanders. Cummins only Championship victory was at Mojave in 1975 which was a good demonstration of Cummins' perseverance and determination.

Miss Candice was renamed :"Jeannie" and retained Race #69 during Sanders' ownership of it. This Mustang went on to a more successful racing career with pilots Mac McClain and Skip Holm on the Wiley Sanders Race Team. The victories of this racer are as follows:

1975: Mojave Air Races - 1st Place- Owner/Pilot: Cliff Cummins
1980: Reno Air Races - 1st place Owner: Wiley Sanders -Pilot Mac McClain.
1981 : Reno Air Races -1st place " " " " -Pilot: Skip Holm.

The Mustang was acquired by Jimmy Leeward in 1983 and renamed :Specter" Race #10 (Roman Numeral X displayed on aircraft). I am pretty sure that Leeward still owns this aircraft but have not followed its history much beyond the time subsequent to when Leeward first entered it.
Dirk Leeward
01/19/2001 21:42
This was Jeanne formerly owned by Wiley Sanders. It is now owned by Jimmy Leeward and was raced most recently as the Leeward Air Ranch Special (NX79111), a history of which is already on the site.
Richard Heyer
03/28/2011 17:31
An old friend, Steve Hutchins and his father Dudley, helped to restore the P-51 for Dr. Cummings ( a neurosurgeon, correct?)back in 1967 at the Chino, CA airport. I remember the bright chrome exterior, the two 12 cylinder Rolls-Royce engines, and the leather cockpit. We were discussing this in emails today and he remembered the owner and the name "Miss Candance". We were both wondering what happened to that beautiful plane. Thanks for filling us in on the rest of the story.
david fuller
09/16/2011 19:22
In 1968 or 69 i had the privilege of attending the Reno venue while traveling around with my buddy. We showed up with eager appetites but little cash to get into all three days of the event. We met Cliff Cummins and told him we were camping in my 65 VW van up in the dump and wanted to take in all we could. Cliff says, if you would be willing to work polishing the plane to mirror status in the hanger, I will make you part of the crew and you have full reign. He also offered us showers in his hotel room. Best thing to happen to two teens. I had my pilots license and had adored the mustang since a young kid. By the way, after we had the plane looking like mercury, cliff had a hydraulic problem, pulled up during a pass and bellied into the sage. It was trucked back to chino I believe and lost track of it.....until today. God bless all the families with this tragedy and Cliff, wherever you are, thanks for one of my best memories. David
Paul Hubbard
09/16/2011 20:17
This Mustang crashed and was destroyed 09/16/2011 at the Reno Air Races. Pilot Jimmy Leeward was killed and several lives were lost on the ground. Cause of the crash is currently not known.
Kim Bradford
09/16/2011 23:29
RIP to all who perished today. Was the plane that crashed the Miss Candace? If you're out there Cliff hope you are well. Kim Bradford aka Kim Holyday.
ben harrison
09/17/2011 00:16
The early history of this airplane is detailed in an Air Classics article, June, 1977, which I wrote. I spent several days with Cliff Cummins and his crew at Mojave, and spent several hours interviewing Cliff and reviewing various documents and photos he supplied. Cliff would certainly have had access to accurate information in 1960 when he purchased the airplane, and he had researched its history in detail. As quoted in my article: "At some time in the 1950s the Israeli government attempted to acquire the airplane, but the U.S. Government apparently blocked the sale." I would hardly question this based on some article researched decades later.
Don Bush
09/17/2011 00:44
Like David Fuller, I was living in my 59 Chevy panel truck on my first visit to the Reno Air Races in 1970. I met Cliff and got the same treatment as David. Dr. Cummins was a radiologist in Ontario, CA. He bellied it into the sage due to a broken throttle linkage. No power and not enough speed or altitude to make it back to the main runway. I stuck around and on post-race Monday helped disassemble the plane and load it onto a truck. Through the 70s I spent the whole race week at Reno. Cliff often gave me the spare bed in his hotel or motel room. His racing career ended when he lost his battle with the IRS over racing expense deductions, and he sold the plane to Mr Sanders. Over the past thirty years work made it difficult to get away to the races. Tomorrow I was going to go to Reno, but...
Ken Rose
01/28/2012 18:25
Information re: Cliff Cummins. I am a long time hiker and biker with Cliff. I am sad to report that notice of his death just appeared in SS index:
Name: Clifford D Cummins
Born: 23 Jan 1923
Died: 2 Jan 2012
John Eertwegh
07/29/2014 14:05
I have been attending the air races now for about 20 years as a vendor. I was about 100 yards from the impact of the crash of the Ghost. I saw the plane go over the stands followed by a shower of parts. When RARA let us back in a few days later to remove our merchandise I found several pieces of box seat chairs and a chunk of the aircraft. I never knew it had such a history.
Tim Roper
08/23/2015 13:10
Hi Ken Rose
Sorry to rake over painful memories, but I heve been searching for Dr Cliff D Cummins and read your post but cannot find his death listed on the SS Index.

Kind Regards

Tim
Gary Larrison
06/19/2016 20:08
I WORKED AT AEROSPORT AVIATION , CHINO CIRCA 1975-76
I STRIPPED WIRING OFF

THIS PLANE . SEPISTEIN WAS THE MECHANIC. HINTON AND THE MALONEY,S ALL CAME DOWN TO TAKE CARE OF BIZ. I STILL HAVE A PHOTO OF HER. IS SHE REALLY THE GHOST? AMAZING COINCIDENCE.
Joe Comrack
09/16/2017 20:24
When this air plane belonged to Dr.Cummins, it was parked at chino airport, I got a 2 hour ride. I had just finished the 9th grade and this was a gift from my Dad who worked for PAC.
Case Closed!
P-51 Mustang

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