At this weekend’s “Wings Over Dallas” airshow at Dallas Executive Airport, Commemorative Air Force (CAF) P-51C “Tuskegee Airmen” will fly in public for the first time in a while, commemorating Veterans’ Day. The appearance is noteworthy in that it was just a little over a year ago that the rare razorback Mustang was extensively damaged in a Nov. 4 runway excursion accident.
CAF pilot Doug Rozendaal flew the first post-repair flight on Oct. 17, 2022, which he said was flawless. “It flies straight,” he told AVweb. “Fortunately, there was no fuselage damage, and very few of the major systems needed repair,” he said. The main work, performed by AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota, involved the outer spar extension on the left wing (the main spar was undamaged), the left main landing gear, and the prop and engine, due to sudden stoppage. Rozendaal then flew the Mustang to John’s 360-degree Coatings in Raymond, Mississippi, to repaint the repaired areas and perform overall “touchup” work—all accomplished within 10 days. Jeffries Airworks in Brandon, Mississippi, balanced the propeller.
The CAF said the repairs could have been completed sooner but for “supply chain issues and labor shortages.” Once back in Dallas for the winter, the Red Tail Mustang, which is the centerpiece of CAF’s “Rise Above Squadron,” will spend time getting other CAF pilots requalified in the airplane for what promises to be an active 2023 airshow season.
I believe this one is just painted to be a Tuskegee Airman plane, but the CAF does have what is believed to be the only surviving plane actually flown by the Tuskegee Airman in training. The aircraft serial number and history was confirmed by Air Force records and one of the Tuskegee Airman remembering the runway excursion that took that plane out of service…
Correct. This is not an airframe that served with the group. It’s nicknamed “Tuskegee Airmen,’ which is painted on the cowling.
Thanks CAF ! Hard to believe that that they can keep a airplane designed to last around 50 hours of use in war and still have it flying some 75+ years later for others to admire/enjoy.
The B52s are knocking on a bit too – 65 – 70 years?
Does the CAF carry insurance on their planes?