On 22 December 1953, two of these aircraft crashed on their way to Auckland to perform a fly-past for the visit of the Queen and Prince Philip. Both crashed due to bad weather within a short distance of each other and both pilots were killed. The P51 Mustangs were RNZAF serial numbers NZ2404 and NZ2411. One crashed at the mouth of the Waipingau Stream, and the other across the Tongaporutu River. Years later, Roger Jordan, one of the founders of the museum, recovered what interesting pieces of wreckage he could find. Most pieces were pretty small, but from down a 5m hole he recovered an undercarriage leg, .5-inch calibre Browning machine guns, and a Packard Merlin engine. It’s believed that the engine was probably going full noise when the plane hit the ground.