On Friday, August 25th, at Sywell in the United Kingdom, English pilot Pete Kynsey conducted the first post-restoration flight of the North American P-51D 45-11518, registered as G-CLNV on the British civil register.
Restored by Air Leasing Ltd, led by Richard Grace, this P-51 was built in 1945 and was taken over by the Royal New Zealand Air Force in August of the same year, where it was given the serial NZ2427.
Stored until 1952, the Mustang flew until 1958 before being stored again for many years and acquired by Sir Tim Wallis and his collection, The Alpine Fighter Collection, in Wanaka. It was eventually sold to Maurice Hammond of England in 1997.
Reconstructed over a four-year period, the new first flight took place on June 14, 2001. Operated by the Hardwick Warbirds collection, the P-51 unfortunately suffered an accident on October 2, 2016, seriously injuring its pilot/owner Maurice Hammond and resulting in the passenger’s death.
Purchased by Graham Peacock in 2020 and his collection, Fighter Aviation Engineering Ltd, the P-51 was modified to the TF-51 two-seat standard. Its new livery represents that of a Mustang from the 23rd Fighter Group, 75th Fighter Squadron, based in the China-Burma-India theater.
There are now a total of eight flying Mustangs in the United Kingdom.
World Warbird News extends its sincere thanks to Peter Green, Nigel Harrison and Anthony Galbraith for allowing the use of the photos that illustrate this article.