This P-51C of the Commemorative AF, former USAAF 42-103645, made
its first post restoration flight by Bob Odegaard on May 10, 2001.
The aircraft is painted with markings to represent each unit
Tuskegee pilots flew in. The aircraft is named 'Tuskegee Airmen'
and is painted in familiar 'Red Tail' markings.
Most P-51B/C airframes were scrapped due to a lack of buyers but
the subject aircraft was given to a trade school in Billings,
Montana, USA in 1946. In the early 60s when the warbird movement
was just starting to place the CAF purchased the airframe and moved
it to Harlingen, Texas, USA. It was in poor condition and the wings
were chain-sawed off outboard of the landing gear legs.
The airframe was transferred from CAF unit to unit over the next
two decades before ending up at the CAF's Southern Minnesotas
Wing at Fleming Field, South St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. When enough
money was raised the wings were sent to Bob Odegaards shop
while the fuselage went to Gerry Becks Tri-State Aviation and
the engine to Mike Nizons Vintage V-12.
The aircraft was flown back to St. Paul by Doug Rozendaal on June
20, 2001. Suffering an engine failure on May 29, 2004, the pilot Don Hinz, crash-landed the aircraft near Red Wing, Minnesota, he died the following day from the sustained injuries. The wreckage is stored for eventual restoration. View also photo 8213.