Sunday, May 1, 2011

Galveston Gal - Up And At 'Em

Lone Star Flight Museum's long awaited return to the ranks of Mustang ownership has been completed with the purchase and restoration of 'Galveston Gal'.

After a lengthy restoration and repaint, the aircraft made its airshow debut at NAS Corpus Christi, followed by a weekend at NAS Ft. Worth participating in the USAF Heritage Flight with an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

N4151D is actually a TF-51D, a true dual control Mustang, one of 12 built to this standard. Originally built as a normal P-51D, it was converted to dual controls while in service with the El Salvador Air Force. To my knowledge, it is the only survivor of these conversions. Once owned by Lone Star, they purchased the aircraft back from owner William Hane in 2009, and had it rebuilt by Ezell Aviation in Breckenridge, TX.

'Galveston Gal' is a faithful recreation of the P-51D that was flown by Lt. Ray Lancaster in the 370th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group. Now 90 years old, Lt. Lancaster was present in Galveston at LSFM when Tom Gregory brought the aircraft in on its delivery flight from Breckenridge.

The original 'Galveston Gal' was not named for a particular lady, but for the song made famous by Gene Autry.

These photos were shot in Ft. Worth during the airshow. The Heritage Flight was flown by Cousin Gumby in the Mustang, with General Tommy in his backseat, while Rifle was driving the Hawg.

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