Thursday, September 29, 2016

Air Museum launches newly restored P-51, invites drivers to roll out their Mustangs

WINDSOR LOCKS — The New England Air Museum will host a gathering of iconic Ford Mustangs in celebration of the completion of the restoration of its World War II era P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft on Sunday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the museum on Perimeter Road, next to Bradley International Airport.

All years and models of Ford Mustangs are welcome. Prizes will be given for the best vintage (first generation model years 1964-73) and best of show.

Show car admission is $20 and includes the driver, passenger and admission to the museum. For all others, the general admission applies and includes the car show.

The show car gate opens at 9 a.m. Awards will be presented at 2 p.m. Winners must be present.

Rain date is Sunday, Oct. 16, same time.

The show is a fundraiser for the New England Air Museum. Owner entry fees and visitor admissions will directly support aircraft restoration at the New England Air Museum which has a collection of more than 100 aircraft, Debbie Reed, assistant director at the museum, said.

Access to the show and a behind-the-scenes peek into the New England Air Museum’s aircraft restoration and storage hangars is included with regular museum admission.

The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is an American long-range, single-seater fighter and fighter bomber used during World War II, the Korean War, and other conflicts. It was designed in 1940 by North American Aviation for the British Purchasing Commission.

It was rolled out on Sept. 9, 1940, 102 days after the contract was signed, and first flew on Oct. 26.

From late 1943, P-51Bs were used by the U.S. Air Force to escort bombers in raids over Germany and also as fighter bombers, helping to ensure Allied air superiority in 1944. The P-51 also was used by Allied air forces in the North African, Mediterranean, and Italian theaters, and against the Japanese in the Pacific War.

After World War II and the Korean War, many Mustangs were converted for air racing and preserved and flown as historic war aircraft at airshows.

The North American P-51D Racer was purchased by the New England Air Museum in 1972. With its restoration complete, it takes its place on display at the museum along with other racers in the museum’s collection.

The New England Air Museum is the largest aviation museum in New England, comprising three large public hangars, outdoor exhibits, and more than 100 aircraft ranging from early airships and flying machines to helicopters and supersonic jets.

To take a virtual tour of the P-51D cockpit, go to:

The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., November through May; closed Mondays Admission is adults, age 12 and older, $12.50; children, ages 4-11, $7; children age 3 and younger, free; seniors, age 65 and older, $11.50.

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