Fasten your seatbelt for North American Aviation Day
On Saturday, June 9, the first Historic Flight Day of 2012 will feature the aircraft of North American Aviation at Paine Field.
“NAA” designed and built HFF’s P-51B Mustang, B-25D Mitchell and T-6 Texan. All three of these aircraft will take to the skies following a BBQ lunch (by donation) and presentation of “North American Aviation, Its People and Airplanes” by aviation historian Barry Latter.
Admission will be $12 for adults or free for members with discounted rates available for seniors/military and children. Flying will begin at 1:30 p.m., weather permitting. BBQ lunch and presentation, rain or shine.
North American Aviation, Inc. was founded in 1928 but became famous with the design of the P-51 Mustang fighter for the British. The first prototype rolled out of the factory a mere 102 days after the contract was signed and made its first flight 47 days later.
Despite its whirlwind design and construction, the P-51 Mustang became one of the most famous and successful fighters of WWII.
North American produced many other successful warplanes and military training aircraft through the late 1950s including the T-28 Trojan, F-86 Sabre, and the XB-70 Valkyrie.
The company also played a large role in our early space program including development of the Apollo Command/Service Module and the second stage of the Saturn V rocket. Eventually, NAA was acquired by Boeing and integrated into their Defense Division.
The P-51B Mustang named ‘Impatient Virgin’ is a WWII veteran with over 700 hours of combat flown between 1944-1945.
This Mustang and her four pilots shot down 7 enemy aircraft and flew 4 sorties over the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
After a spectacular crash on a training flight in 1945, the ‘Virgin’ lay undisturbed in a British farm field for more than a half-century before being rediscovered and patiently excavated.
The aircraft has been restored to the exact markings and modifications it wore in service in 1945.
Historic Flight’s B-25D Mitchell ‘Grumpy’ is the oldest flying production B-25 in the world. Serving as a trainer for the U.S. Army Air Corps and the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war, she continued to serve in the military until being sold as surplus in 1962.
Following modifications, ‘Grumpy’ flew as a fire bomber until 1980.
The journey to restoration as a classic warbird took a decade of perseverance thanks to Merrill Wien, Aero Traders, and the Duxford Fighter Collection.
Painted in RAF markings, ‘Grumpy’ spent years performing on the airshow circuit in Europe before finally making the long journey home to Historic Flight in 2009.
The North American T-6 Texan is one of the best-known aircraft of WWII. Nearly every pilot serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps, the U.S. Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Royal Air Force during the 1940s flew one of these ubiquitous trainers.
Over 15,000 were built, and today about 300 remain airworthy due to their dependability, utility, and rugged construction.
Nicknamed the “Pilot Maker,” the legacy of the T-6 hasn’t gone unnoticed. The newest training aircraft to enter service with the U.S. Air Force is known as the T-6 Texan II and will serve as the primary flight trainer for decades to come.
The Historic Flight Foundation is at 10719 Bernie Webber Dr. on the southwest side of the airport.