Beautiful P-51B

MIflyer

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I went up to American Aero in New Smyrna Beach today and was startled to see this OD and gray P-51B, modified to two seats and I believe marked as the one that carried Gen Eisenhower over the D-Day beaches. You see so few OD Mustangs and this one is spectacular!
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Mustangtmg

Airman
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Mar 8, 2014
I went up to American Aero in New Smyrna Beach today and was startled to see this OD and gray P-51B, modified to two seats and I believe marked as the one that carried Gen Eisenhower over the D-Day beaches. You see so few OD Mustangs and this one is spectacular! View attachment 684557 View attachment 684558
"The Stars Look Down" may have overflown the D-Day beaches, but on the famous flight where Maj. General Quesada (the pilot), with Four Star General Eisenhower (the passenger) were in the aircraft, the flight was AFTER the Normandy Invasion.

They overflew the Saint-on a recon mission, over the area of France, a month AFTER D-Day.

The name came from the fact that there were Generals with a total of Six Stars on board.

FYI, in the actual aircraft, there was NO way for the passenger to get out of the plane once he plunked down in the seat. Gen Eisenhower did not even have a parachute, because of the fact that he was effectively "trapped" behind the pilot's seat.
 

MIflyer

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On D-Day itself, 6 June 44, there was a USAAF General Officer that commandeered a training B-17 from a unit that was out on a mission, scratched up a minimal crew, and went out to see the invasion beaches for himself. When they came down under the clouds over the Channel they got shot at by just about everybody, but made it back Okay. The 8th AF senior leadership was not at all pleased.

On one of the Aphrodite missions an extra B-17 showed up and the mission commander ordered their fighter escort to shoot it down if they started opening up the waist windows to use the guns, and to follow it and shoot it down if it headed to the Continent. After they got back from the mission he got a call saying 8th AF HQ had decided to load up a B-17 with HQ types and come have a look see at the op. Somehow, no one thought to let him know about that little excursion in advance; it came close to being an "own goal" Yamamoto mission.
 
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jgreiner

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Mar 10, 2011
Wisconsin
"The Stars Look Down" may have overflown the D-Day beaches, but on the famous flight where Maj. General Quesada (the pilot), with Four Star General Eisenhower (the passenger) were in the aircraft, the flight was AFTER the Normandy Invasion.

They overflew the Saint-on a recon mission, over the area of France, a month AFTER D-Day.

The name came from the fact that there were Generals with a total of Six Stars on board.

FYI, in the actual aircraft, there was NO way for the passenger to get out of the plane once he plunked down in the seat. Gen Eisenhower did not even have a parachute, because of the fact that he was effectively "trapped" behind the pilot's seat.
Could you explain how the passenger was "trapped" in the back seat? Since this 2-seater was/is the conventional B type canopy with the side and top opening and not the Malcolm hood, I can't figure out how one would be trapped.
 

MIflyer

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My post No.5 shows the aft cockpit with the same top-folding design as the front seat. But that shot that FlyboyJ posted shows that the top appears to be fixed and only the Left side opens. He may not have been "trapped" in the rear seat but getting out in flight would have been a challenge.

Aside from that, "scouting the area around the "Battle of the Bulge" is utter nonsense. In July 1944 the allies were still trying to break out of Normandy. The Battle of the Bulge occurred in Belgium in December 1944. More likely, the flight was to scout the area of the pocket where German troops were trapped after Patton's breakout in Operation Cobra.
 

FLYBOYJ

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My post No.5 shows the aft cockpit with the same top-folding design as the front seat. But that shot that FlyboyJ posted shows that the top appears to be fixed and only the Left side opens. He may not have been "trapped" in the rear seat but getting out in flight would have been a challenge.
The restored P-51 has a better designed rear cockpit, the top portion of the canopy flips up and seems to have more room aft. Seeing the way Ike had to get out of the aircraft, he might as well have been "trapped" and there seems to be no room for him to wear a parachute (at least one of that era).

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Airframes

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In the "Ike" aircraft, that looks like a parachute left in place on the rear seat, possibly a B-4 type, back-pack parachute. The harness and back-pad or pack can be seen, looking more substantial than the shoulder straps of the seat harness.
 

FLYBOYJ

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In the "Ike" aircraft, that looks like a parachute left in place on the rear seat, possibly a B-4 type, back-pack parachute. The harness and back-pad or pack can be seen, looking more substantial than the shoulder straps of the seat harness.
Yep - after looking closer I can see that, I still wouldn't want to try to egress out of that back seat!
 

MIflyer

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They use that two seat P-51B to sell rides, as well as to allow a Co-Pilot to help with some flights, such as slow timing the engine. So they had to make it easier to get in and out of the cockpit.

Still, you have to wonder if a better accommodation could have not been made for Ike in another type aircraft. For example, one of the new A-26''s should have given him a great view, with that large window they had aft of the wing on the Right side. But nothing else available could have run away to safety better than a P-51B.

I recall seeing recon P-38's in formation over France with an AT-6, but while that was before the end of the war, it was after the Germans had been virtually eliminated in France.
 
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jimh

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Betty Jane/Stars Look Down, my old ride. I've got close to 1500 hours in her. She started life as P-51C 42-103293 and was lost May 1st 1944 with 359th FG pilot Carey Brown while on a training flight in England. Around 2000 Pacific Fighters started the rebuild of a P-51B/C for Max Chapman and incorporated the DNA of 293 in her restoration. She was built up with two cockpits ala the 4th FG 2 seat hack but with the addition of a full second cockpit rather than just a jump seat. Collings purchased her from Max in 2008 and we immediately put her on the Wings of Freedom Tour. Over the 8 years she was out it accumulated around 5,000 hours of flying. Around 2014 a decision was made to acquire a replacement Mustang and a D model was purchased from Mark Timken. The restoration became TF-51D Toulouse Nuts and replaced Betty in 2016 so she could get a much needed refurbishment. The initial plan was to send her to England as part of their expanding ride program once she was completed. Delays in the rebuild changed that and they elected to send the P-40 instead. Hope this helps

Jim
 

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FLYBOYJ

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Betty Jane/Stars Look Down, my old ride. I've got close to 1500 hours in her. She started life as P-51C 42-103293 and was lost May 1st 1944 with 359th FG pilot Carey Brown while on a training flight in England. Around 2000 Pacific Fighters started the rebuild of a P-51B/C for Max Chapman and incorporated the DNA of 293 in her restoration. She was built up with two cockpits ala the 4th FG 2 seat hack but with the addition of a full second cockpit rather than just a jump seat. Collings purchased her from Max in 2008 and we immediately put her on the Wings of Freedom Tour. Over the 8 years she was out it accumulated around 5,000 hours of flying. Around 2014 a decision was made to acquire a replacement Mustang and a D model was purchased from Mark Timken. The restoration became TF-51D Toulouse Nuts and replaced Betty in 2016 so she could get a much needed refurbishment. The initial plan was to send her to England as part of their expanding ride program once she was completed. Delays in the rebuild changed that and they elected to send the P-40 instead. Hope this helps

Jim
Hi Jim -

Thanks for the input and update! Always a pleasure to hear from you!
 

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