Tuesday, June 2, 2009

P-51 Mustang #3

Finally, it was time to fly. Getting into the rear cockpit was easy and because of the age of the plane - even though it was pretty much in "as new" condition but brought up to date with modern instruments - I was pleased to get a parachute as well as harness belts. A decent headset rounded off the package along with precise instruction as to where the sick bag was stashed, something that was never even remotely needed.

My pilot, Stu, was pretty well versed in flying these things, having first learned 50 years ago the ins and outs of a P-51 flying, as he said, "when the ammo was still live" during the cold war! In addition, Stu actually owns his own P-51 so it's hard to think of anyone more qualified to sit up front and man the controls.

We taxied out to 29R and took off without drama, setting into a circling patter at 1,500 feet over the airfield waiting for the Twin Beech and B-24 to get airborne and catch up. This seemed to take quite a bit longer than Stu anticipated, but I didn't mind. It was fun just to watch the various planes moving around the airfield and getting prepped for takeoff.

Once the group was together, things headed east to the bombing zone, a mown strip of land graciously donated for the day by a local farmer and sitting some 30 miles east of Stockton.

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