Another Mustang Thread?

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Sisu

Airman 1st Class
142
348
Mar 11, 2021
I really enjoyed Jeff's Mustang thread, and Grant's Reno thread, and they seemed well received here, so I wondered if there might be interest in still another Mustang thread. I visit this site pretty much every day, but generally feel I don't have a lot to contribute. My interest really is most in the postwar operations of these aging machines. I love studying the ongoing postwar evolution of these designs in peacetime settings, and I love the sights and sounds of these machines working out. They were built to fly and I've been lucky enough to be around them a lot.

I saw my first Mustang in 1974, and first attended the Reno Air Races in 1976. I had press passes there and elsewhere for thirty five years after that, and have accumulated a huge collection of images. I've been doing a lot of work in the Wingman Photo archives lately and thought it might be interesting to share some of what keeps turning up.

So is there any interest in still another long Mustang photo thread??
 

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Back when I started doing Reno I tried mightily to get the classic "airplane with pylon' shots. Generally I failed miserably, but I had one spot where I could do it with some consistency. This was one of the very first photos I had published -- in 1978. I thought it was pretty cool...
 

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Scratch one Zero...

I did think it a little odd to have a P-51D in a Pearl Harbor reenaction, but it did look good out there.
 

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These machines are so exciting that sometimes it became apparent that the pilots were neglecting their personal hygeine. They sometimes looked a little rough on landing...
 

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Ed Messick was a very colorful Confederate Air Force colonel, involved in a wide variety of CAF warbirds.. He raced a P-39 in 1976, and the Mustang in 1977. This Mustang was written up in Air Cassics in the 1970s, and was much loved by all who flew her. She was very badly damaged in a takeoff loss of power crash when under new ownership a decade later and is still listed as a very long term restoration project.
 

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This is the airplane I was in for the upside down shot above. It is a great daily driver totally stock Mustang -- in the same family for over 40 years. Listed as 44-74389, but containing major portions of at least 3 airframes.
 

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This is the airplane I was in for the upside down shot above. It is a great daily driver totally stock Mustang -- in the same family for over 40 years. Listed as 44-74389, but containing major portions of at least 3 airframes.

Brilliant shot! Your shots are superb, mate. Speedball Alice. I got some shots of her on the ramp but none flying.

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Back in the 1970s and 1980s I lived in Northern California, where there was a vibrant Warbirds scene. For years we heard about Art Vance's Mustang project. He had found the hulk of a fuselage, with the crucial center section reasonably intact. He then obtained a wing and landing gear from an Australian airplane, and after spending far more time and far more money than planned, by 1982 or so he had a flying Mustang. For several years the paint was pretty rough -- and the airplane was called "Million Dollar Baby" in honour of the building process...
 

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Art eventually got the airplane properly painted and it looked as it does now. Art eventually got overconfident in a different airplane, made some stupid rookie mistakes and was killed. The family managed to keep 'Speedball Alice" and it has been flown since by his son Dan. Dan Vance grew up helping his Dad work on this airplane, along with a T-6 that they restored for Dan to learn to fly Warbirds in. I thought it was nice that Dan has kept his Dad's name on 'Speedball' even 15 years later. Dan brings the airplane to airshows all over the U S, regularly races (gently) at Reno, instructs at the Pylon Racing School, and serves as a safety pilot during qualifying at Reno -- orbiting overhead to drop down to assist anybody who has a major issue on the racecourse. He has also raced a Tigercat and a souped up Sea Fury at Reno.
 

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