P-51D Mustang Takes First Flight Since 1957
Facebook / Brendon Deere
Decades In The Making
The Royal New Zealand Air Force Base at Ohakea had quite an day on Remembrance Day at November 11th this year.
That special day, a P-51D made its first flight after years of restoration, taking off and landing after 24 minutes of air time.
Built as a P-51D-25NT, this Mustang was one of the 30 of its kind delivered to replace the RNZAF’s F4U and FG-1D Corsairs for WW2.
It bounced around after the war, until private pilot John Smith purchased it in 1964. Throughout the years, Smith had already accumulated surplus RNZAF aircraft which included two P-40s and a De Havilland Mosquito.
After his passing in 2019, a meticulous restoration effort was green-lit in August 2020 at Ohakea Base. The wings were to be rebuilt by Odegaard Wings, while the engine was worked on by Vintage V-12s in California.
Unlike many rebuilt P-51Ds, this Mustang features replica armament, ammo links, a fuselage fuel tank, and a radio. The team is now focusing on doing more test flights before debuting the Mustang at the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow at Easter next year.
Check it out below!