Gathering of Mustangs and Legends 2007 By Larry Wilcox
<ul><li>I thought this would be a once in a lifetime event and that I really needed to go see it. I was not disappointed. I drove up to Columbus on Wednesday and got up early Thursday morning to go and see the planes come in. Unfortunately, the weather was awful. The ceiling was about 300 feet and it was raining pretty hard. So I figured I would read for awhile and see what was going to happen. A friend that was also there called and said a bunch of them were going to the Air Force Museum in Dayton and I was welcome to tag along. So we spent the day in Dayton. Of course I didn’t have my tripod with me so my pictures are not real good from there. But I have been there before so mostly I just enjoyed the sights and sounds. Friday morning was clear and bright so I headed for the airshow. After working out a few kinks in the organization, we were all allowed into the show grounds. I was really glad I was able to go on Friday because otherwise I would never have gotten pictures of all the planes. There were still planes coming in on Friday and I think the final number of P-51s was probably about 68-70, which I thought was pretty good considering the weather earlier in the week. </li></ul><ul><li>I have pictures of all the P-51s side art I think and I haven’t decided whether to do a presentation of that or not. If you are interested, let me know and I can do one. I had only seen maybe a third or less of the planes before, so it was kind of interesting. A lot of the planes were so clean you could eat off them, others looked like they had just returned from combat. </li></ul><ul><li>I am going to try to include some of everything that I saw in this show, not just the P-51s. </li></ul>
The show started with the National Anthem and the Red Baron Stearman squadron flying around the flag.
Since we have been here with our grandsons, we have tried the Red Baron Pizza and it is actually pretty good.
<ul><li>One of the best airshow acts is the Aeroshell team. I hadn’t seen them in a couple of years. It seems they tried to have planes that were associated with the Air Force and the P-51. The T-6 Texan was an Advanced Trainer, usually the last plane a pilot flew before he went to fighters. </li></ul>
Lee Lauderback and Crazy Horse are airshow staples. Lee was one of the driving forces behind the Gathering. You can buy a ride in this plane in Florida.
One of my favorites was Princess Elizabeth, a P-51C from Philadelphia. Jim Beasley owns this plane and also Frenesi and Bald Eagle, both P-51Ds. Being a lawyer must pay pretty good. There are about 4 or five P-51 pilots that are a cut above the rest and Jim Beasley is definitely one of those.
You have heard of the F-82, Twin Mustang? I guess this is a Twin Thunderbolt.
P-51D Old Crow. Most of the P-51s represent actual aircraft. Old Crow was flown by Col. Bud Anderson, who shot down 16 ¼ enemy aircraft.
Republic P-47D Thunderbolts. Wicked Wabbit and Hun Hunter XVI are two of the most popular planes at airshows, partly because of the rarity of the planes and because the pilots are very good and nice people. <ul><li>These planes were built at the Maytag factory in Evansville, Indiana, about 50 miles south of here. </li></ul>
B-17G Yankee Lady. It is amazing to hear how many of these were lost and each one had a crew of 10!
On Saturday, Yankee Lady was “hit” by flak while bombing and an engine smoked for awhile. This was an interesting show. You could almost feel what it must have been like.
<ul><li>There is an interesting story in the program about a B-17 that was hit while on a bombing run in 1944. It fell out of formation and was limping home to England when it was set upon by three German BF-109 fighters. It was being further damaged when a P-51 appeared and shot down two of the Germans and drove the other one away. The B-17 pilot had no idea who the P-51 pilot was but the P-51 came up beside the B-17 and saluted as he pulled away. The side art on the P-51 was “Hurry Home Honey”. Sixty years later in Lexington, Kentucky Dr. Kent Mosley, the B-17 pilot, met Major Pete Peterson, the P-51 pilot for the first time. </li></ul><ul><li>Major Peterson’s wife ended every letter with the phrase “Hurry Home Honey” and that is what he named his plane. </li></ul>
<ul><li>This airport was where the Tuskegee Airmen learned to fly the P-51. There were 46 of the Tuskegee Airmen at the show. A salute to them was flown by the Red Tail P-51C “Ina” Macon Belle. </li></ul>
P-51D “Twilight Tear”. This plane came from England for the show.