Mus­tangs shine at Sun ’n Fun

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

Sun ’n Fun 2017 at Lake­land, Florida from 4-9 April was un­for­tu­nately af­fected by bad weather in north­ern Florida and ad­join­ing states for much of the week which kept many air­craft away. As a re­sult the turnout of vin­tage air­craft was quite poor, with only a dozen or so PRE-WWII air­craft present. Like­wise war­bird num­bers and va­ri­ety were down. Other than Stal­lion 51’s gath­er­ing of Mus­tangs the only WWII fight­ers were a Corsair and a P-40 Warhawk.

The 30th an­niver­sary of the highly re­garded Stal­lion 51 Mus­tang op­er­a­tion, based at nearby Kis­sim­mee, promised to be a great event with over thirty P-51s in­vited, but again weather and some ser­vice­abil­ity is­sues meant that only seven­teen at­tended. How­ever, for the Thurs­day air­show they pulled the stops out in what must have been one of the best war­bird fly­ing dis­plays at a US show in re­cent years. Stal­lion 51’s Lee Laud­er­back led the way with an aer­o­batic dis­play in Crazy Horse 2, then with an­other P-51D joined an F-16 Fight­ing Falcon and A-10 Thun­der­bolt for a USAF Her­itage Flight rou­tine. A big for­ma­tion of ten Mus­tangs and two B-25 Mitchells then made a se­ries of fly­pasts — some­what un­usual for a US air­show. Ap­proach­ing seventy years since the start of the Berlin air­lift, it was good to see the Berlin Air­lift His­tor­i­cal Foun­da­tion’s Dou­glas C-54 in at­ten­dance; hope­fully this will soon be joined by the Boe­ing C-97, which has re­cently been cleared to fly by the FAA.

No­table amongst the more mod­ern war­birds was Canadair CF-5D Free­dom Fighter N115DV, sold by the Cana­dian Forces in 2007 to a Delaware com­pany, and a civil­ian-owned P&W Pt-6-pow­ered early pro­to­type PZL-130T Turbo Or­lik.

One of the war­bird award-win­ners this year was newly re­stored Temco YT-35 Bucka­roo N4PB/50-0739. A de­vel­op­ment of the Globe Swift for the 1949 USAF trainer com­pe­ti­tion even­tu­ally won by the Beech T-34 Men­tor, it was one of 26 Bucka­roos built, with the only ma­jor or­der com­ing from the Royal Saudi Air Force for ten. This was the first time that two Bucka­roos have been seen to­gether for many years as it joined fel­low YT-35 N68773/500740, a reg­u­lar fly-in vis­i­tor.

An in­ter­est­ing new ex­hibit at the Sun ’n Fun mu­seum is Boe­ing 307 N19904. Orig­i­nally de­liv­ered to TWA and then op­er­ated by Howard Hughes as his pri­vate trans­port, the for­ward sec­tion of the fuse­lage was con­verted to a house boat in the 70s and lived in the wa­ter­ways around Ft Laud­erdale lat­terly named Cos­mic Muf­fin. It was fi­nally taken out of the water and ac­quired by the mu­seum in 2016.

Sun ‘n Fun 2018 is sched­uled for 10-15 April next year.­ Re­port & pho­tos: Nigel Hitch­man

Colour­ful line-up of North Amer­i­can P-51 Mus­tangs at Lake­land

Two P-51s joined an F-16 and an A-10 for the USAF Her­itage Flight rou­tine

For­mer Cana­dian Forces CF-5D Free­dom Fighter now owned by a US com­pany

Civil­ian-owned P & W Pt-6-pow­ered early pro­to­type of the Pol­ish PZL-130T Turbo Or­lik

Award-win­ning, newly re­stored Temco YT-35 Bucka­roo N4PB

Lee Laud­er­back per­forms his sig­na­ture ‘un­der­car­riage roll’ dur­ing an aer­o­batic dis­play in Crazy Horse 2

Sun ’n Fun Mu­seum’s for­mer house­boat Cos­mic Muf­fin

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