Magnificent Mustang to fly from Lismore
THE dreams of aspiring Northern Rivers fighter pilots will be answered next month when they can soar across the skies in a 1940s, Second World War, Mustang P51-D fighter bomber.
Brisbane-based aviation enthusiast Brad Bishopp bought the plane on Tuesday from Scone for more than $2 million, after a multi-million dollar restoration.
When Northern Rivers Aero Club president Bill Kiernan heard pilot Cameron Rolf-Smith was flying the warbird back to Archerfield, he asked Mr Bishopp if they could visit Lismore airport.
"What we are hoping to be able to do is offer training for pilots, from two seaters to learn in, right through to where people can fly the Mustang," Mr Keirnan said.
"If the aero club and Lismore Airport is going to go ahead, you have got to offer more, and that's what we are doing."
Powered by a 1700 horsepower, V12 Rolls Royce Merlin engine, the Mustang can cruise at 500km/h.
"This American-built plane is fitted with dual seats and full dual controls," Mr Bishopp said.
"This is the only American-built Mustang P51-D in Australia."
"In Australia we currently have about four other operating Mustangs," Mr Keirnan said.
Used extensively in the Korean war, the Mustang fighter bombers were also used to chase away German bombers from British airspace due to their speed and manoeuvrability.
Each wing of the aircraft was fitted with three .5mm Browning machine guns for ground attacks, while the plane was also able to carry a payload of wing-deployed bombs.
Buying the Mustang fulfilled a childhood dream for Mr Bishopp.
He said his grandfather was an Second World War officer in the New Zealand Air Force, based in Hawaii.
"He had a fond love of the Mustangs and it is something that I have followed my whole life," Mr Bishopp said.
"This plane will be doing adventure flights as well as flight training for high rated individuals."
The next time the Mustang P51-D will grace the tarmac at Lismore Airport will be at the Lismore Aviation Expo on June 18.