The UK airshow season has always been home to a decent number of North American P-51 Mustangs over the years and indeed there are still a number of beautiful examples of the type flying in the country.
Maurice Hammond’s Hardwick Warbirds is home to arguably two of he most immaculate Mustangs in the country, both hand restored by Mr. Hammond himself.
Janie G-MSTG –
Janie was the first restoration to come out of Hardwick, originally built in 1945 and was shipped down to New Zealand in August of that year. Following 10 years flying in New Zealand with No.3 Sqaudron, the aircraft was struck off charge.
The aircraft passed through a number of private owners and was kept in store until 1997 when it was purchased by Maurice and restoration finally began. The aircraft was registered G-MSTG and following a long restoration flew again on the 13th July 2001. The Mustang represents an aircraft flown by Bill Price who flew in the 353rd fighter group.
Janie often seen flying at airshows up and down the country and is regarded by many as the most beautiful mustang on the circuit.
Marinell G-MRLL –
Making its post restoration flight in 2008, Maurice Hammond’s second P-51D restoration Marinell became part of the airshow scene. The aircraft was built in 1944 and sent to the 339th Fighter Group, the aircraft had the Codes 5Q-B assigned. Marinell was lost in combat on the 13th August 1944. After the war the aircraft ended up with a scrap dealer in the states, whose ownership it stayed in until 1998 when it was acquired by Marurice Hammond.
Much like Janie, the restoration is of stunning quality and stands as one of the best looking Mustangs on the airshow scene, featuring a number of different features compared to other P-51s on the circuit. Including the round tip propellors.
Both of these Mustangs attend a number of the smaller airshows across the country being displayed in a very spirited fashion and always a pleasure to see.
Jumpin’ Jacques G-SIJJ –
Based at North Weald as part of the Hangar 11 collection, Jumpin Jauques is probably one of the more commonly seen Mustangs on the Uk airshow scene. Serial number 44-72035 was built in December 1944 and shortly sent to Italy for deployment. It was once in Italy that the aircraft moved to the 332nd fighter group, better known as the Tuskegee airmen or Red Tails. They were the first all African American Fighter group, so this Mustangs history is hugely important. Following service with the USAF back in the states through to the 50s, ‘035 entered civilian life registered as N5411V. In 1989 the Mustang was exported to France where the paint scheme of the 3rd Fighter Squadron aircraft Jumpin Jacques was applied.
The aircraft moved to North Weald in 2005. This Mustang is unique in that it has not had a major rebuild during its life and as such is still in very original condition. Over the past few years Peter Teichman has made some minor updates to increase the originality of the aircraft.
Miss Velma G-TFSI –
The Fighter Collection’s Mustang is unique in the UK population in that it is a TF variant, meaning it has a full dual control configuration. Built as a D model aircraft too late to take part in the second world war it is believed the aircraft ended up with the 45th tactical reccanisaince squadron in 1951. After moving through severeal hands Velma ended up with the Collection in 2000 and restoration started at Chino, it was decided the aircraft would be reuiblt to a TF Standard.
The Mustang flew again in May 2007 and was set to make her UK Debut at Flying Legends that year. Unlike the usual process of being shipped over in a container Velma was actually flown across the Atlanctic by Ed Shipley, p-38 Glacier Girl was meant to join the Mustang on the trip but developed engine problems in Canada and had to turn back.
Now firmly a part of the Duxford collection Miss Velma is often seen at Duxford airshows year after year.
Ferocious Frankie G-BTCD –
Serial number 44-73149, this exmaple of the Mustang has been part of the European airshow scene since 1980, making it one of the longer running performers. The aircraft was built in 1945 and spent time with a number of training units before moving to the Canadian Air Force in 1947.
After 10 years the Mustang was handed over to civillian ownership and went through a number of owners. The aircraft was eventually aquired in 1980 by Stephen Grey and, following an overhaul was flown across to Switzerland. From 1981 it took on the identity of Moose/Candyman, wearing olive drab colours with a Red/Yellow chequerboard nose. The aircraft moved into Duxford along with the rest of the Fighter Collection in 1991.
Now registered as G-BTCD ‘149 spent 8 years with The Fighter Collection before moving one hangar along to the Old Flying Machine Company in 1999. In 2002 the aircraft was repainted into the familiar Ferocious Frankie Yellow nosed scheeme that we now know so well. Over the years this mustnag has been seen all over Europe, especially during the Breitling fighter era.
Miss Helen G-BIXL –
Mustang 44-72216 has to be one of the most historically significant surviving Mustangs in the UK, being the last remaining 352nd group Mustang left. She wears the same colours as were worn during the war, those of Captain Raymond Littge’s “Miss Helen” one of the famous Blue Nose Mustangs. It is not known exactly how many missions this mustang flew but it flew at least one escort mission in 1945.
Following the end of the war the Mustang was put into storage until 1948, when the aircraft was sent to the Swedish air force. In 1953 the mustang was sold once again, this time to the Israeli Air Force, where the Mustang saw the last of its operational career. She was recovered from Israel in 1976 and restoration work started.
The mustang flew again in 1987 and took part in the Memphis Belle film. In 2000 the Blue Nose markings of Miss Helen were applied. In 2004 the aircraft suffered a forced landing while returning from the Royal International Air Tattoo, but was rebuilt and flew again in 2007. This was followed by a heavy landing at Duxford again in 2009, since then the aircraft has been returned to the sky again.
Once a common sight at airshows Miss Helen as been an elusive machine during the past few years.
“Shark Mouth” Mustang –
There is one other UK based Mustang, though it is yet to make a UK airshow appearance since overhaul. The aircraft was formerly known as “Old Crow” and was operated for many years by the Scandinavian Historic Flight. The Mustang moved to Shoreham last year and emerged from overhaul and a repaint at Bournemouth in a RAF Shark-mouthed scheme.
This scheme provides a refreshing change from the more traditional Mustang options. As a result there was a lot of excitement in the community leading up to the aeroplane’s debut at Flying Legends this year, however due to paperwork issues the aircraft did not make the show and has since returned to Shoreham. 2015 saw a busy year for the Shark Mouth Mustang with a number of display appearances as well as flying paying passengers at the Boultbee Academy at Goodwood.
The UK is lucky to have quite a wide collection of Mustangs across the airshow scene, hopefully there will be a suitable occasion in the coming years to get all of them in one place at the same time.