This Mass Flight of P-51s Looked Every Bit as Incredible as it Sounded
The Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) AirVenture 2019 was an event few who were in attendance are likely to forget. The show is always great and the exhibits, discussions, and general camaraderie with other Avgeeks is without equal. The fact is that as soon as one AirVenture ends, for many the countdown to the next one begins. At AirVenture 2019, known as ‘The Year of the Fighter,’ the Thursday Warbirds show featured a gathering of North American P-51 Mustangs so huge that it was impressive even at an event known for great P-51 owner attendance and participation. Enjoy the video (with the volume turned UP) as uploaded to YouTube by AirshowStuffVideos.
When You See It…
If you watched closely you saw at least one example of every P-51 model manufactured by North American. Naturally the lineup is dominated by P-51Ds (someone once said “they’re common as weeds”), but three P-51B/Cs and a P-51H also flew in the event. Both are considered rare by any warbird standard. Even rarer was the presence of the restored prototype XP-51 at Oshkosh. The XP-51 didn’t fly in the show but its presence alone is a treat for Mustang fans. But there was one more Mustang at Oshkosh that raised more eyebrows than most- the recently restored-to-flightworthiness XP-82 Twin Mustang.
Planting Warbird Seeds
Warbirds of America is today the historical military aircraft component of the EAA. But it wasn’t always that way. Warbirds of America was incorporated on 25 March 1966 by a group of warbird owners who at first limited membership to World War II-vintage fighter and bomber owners only. In 1967 Warbirds of America became a division of EAA. They also opened up membership to owners of the North American T-6/SNJ/Harvard trainers, which swelled the ranks considerably. With each passing year more warbirds are restored and membership is no longer limited to World War II. If it was flown by the military it’s now considered a warbird- including jets!
Bill Walton is a life-long aviation historian, enthusiast, and aircraft recognition expert. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their up-the-road from Oshkosh Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and humorist, an avid sailor, fledgling aviator, engineer, father, uncle, mentor, teacher, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means he gets to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.