P-51D ‘Miss Ashley’ renamed ‘Trusty Rusty’
Volunteers of the Dutch Early Birds Foundation saw today the first flight of their restored North American P-51D Mustang from World War II. The aircraft was successfully piloted at Lelystad Airport (EHLE) by Belgian pilot Frederic Vormezeele . The restoration project lasted more than seven years. A dozen volunteers finished the tremendous job, so the aircraft ( c/n 44-74923; livery ‘Trusty Rusty’ C5-W 44-13578, call sign PH-JAT) became airworthy at last.
Dating from the 1945 the P-51D Mustang flew until 1957 in the U.S. Air Force, and the equipment in the sixties of last century in private hands. Before the aeroplane in 1993 was in the hands of Early Birds Foundation, it was called ‘Miss Ashley’ and under that name competing in the Reno Air Races.
Then the aircraft was dismantled, and in 1995 in crates transported to The Netherlands. It was stored at Schiphol and later at the home of Early Birds at Lelystad Airport were the restauration started in 2004 at the MRO facilities of Wings over Holland.
(Image courtesy Leo van der Goot)