P-51 and B-25
The Historic Flight Foundation is dedicated to bring a bygone era back to life, delivering a hands-on education about the technology and innovation that served as the springboard for today’s aviation. It was established by John Sessions in 2003 with the intention to collect, restore, and share significant aircraft from the period between the solo Atlantic crossing of Charles Lindbergh and the first test flight of the Boeing 707. Throughout the intervening years, Historic Flight has acquired at least two aircraft annually and engaged the best restoration resources available to return the collection to original splendor.
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Grumpy’s flight path began in 1943, training US Army Air Force pilots. In 1944, she was transferred to the Royal Air Force as part of the Lend\Lease program and worked for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Though her work was quiet, she trained crews to fly B-24 Liberators for the critical aerial offensive in Southeast Asia. Post-war, it’s probable that she spent time in storage, but also joined auxiliary bombing units responsible for defending western Canada.
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Nicknamed “their little friend” by Allied bomber crews in World War II, the P-51B Mustang emerged in 1942 as the fast, high-altitude North American fighter that could escort bombers deep into enemy territory and turn the tide of losses sustained during long-range missions. The P-51B also saw action in the Korean War and remains a favorite racer and aerobatics performer for today’s aviators. Between 1944–1945, our Impatient Virgin flew more than 700 hours for the 376th North American Fighter Squadron in England. That’s a more than exceptional record—in most cases, the P-51B flew only about 25 hours before sustaining irreparable damage. After a rather interesting crash, our plane lay scattered in a British beet field for more than a half-century, when it was rediscovered and “harvested” by extremely patient archaeologists.
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