P-51 Mustang Ain’t Misbehavin’

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

P-51 Mustang Ain't Misbehavin', Fly-In to Victory Day, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, VA

P-51 Mustang Ain’t Misbehavin’, Fly-In to Victory Day, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

P-51 Mustang Ain’t Misbehavin’

In the last post we looked at the Reflections of the Fly-in to Victory Day at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. One of the five warbirds from the Arsenal of Democracy: World War II Victory Capitol Flyover that was able to fly in to Udvar-Hazy the following day was the P-51 Mustang Ain’t Misbehavin’.  As mentioned in the last post, the excited  crowds who came to witness these magnificent machines meant that capturing images of the whole plane was just about impossible.  However, detailed shots showing the graphic paint schemes and wonderful lines were still achievable.

P-51 Mustang Ain't Misbehavin', Fly-In to Victory Day, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, VA

P-51 Mustang Ain’t Misbehavin’, Fly-In to Victory Day, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

P-51 Mustang Ain’t Misbehavin’ is owned by Wes Stowers and Billy Strickland. This plane is based out of Birmingham, Alabama. It is part of the Warbirds of America collection.

This particular aircraft was built in North American Aviation’s Inglewood, CA factory in October 1944.  It remained stateside as part of the U.S. Army Air Force until being transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1945.  It remained in service until 1957 when it was sold by auction.  It has passed through about a dozen different owners before Wes Stowers and Billy Strickland, along with Evan Zeigler and Jim Thompson purchased the plane in 2006.  Messrs Strickland and Stowers became the sole owners in 2010.

P-51 Mustang Ain't Misbehavin', Fly-In to Victory Day, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, VA

P-51 Mustang Ain’t Misbehavin’, Fly-In to Victory Day, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

Although this particular aircraft did not see combat whilst it was operated by the USAAF, it is now painted in the colors of a P-51 Mustang which did. The original Ain’t Misbehavin’ was flown by Capt. Jesse Frey who was a flight leader in the 362nd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group. This unit was based out of Leiston in Suffolk, England in 1944/45. Its role was to escort the 8th Air Force bombers over Germany.  During these combat missions, Capt. Frey downed two enemy aircraft as indicated by the symbols on the fuselage below the cockpit in the image below.

P-51 Mustang Ain't Misbehavin', Fly-In to Victory Day, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, VA

P-51 Mustang Ain’t Misbehavin’, Fly-In to Victory Day, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

Capt. Frey never had to abort a mission during his time at Leiston. This, he said, was due to the exceptional reliability of Ain’t Misbehavin’ for which he credits his crew chief, Sgt Pat Buzzeo. When the owners met Capt. Frey and Sgt Buzzeo and looked at some of the photographs of the original plane they realized that the P-51 was not painted as a true replica of the original. They decided to repaint the plane in 2010 in the correct style. They also added the names Capt. Frey and Sgt Buzzeo, as well as Sgt Lamar Christenson who was the Armorer, to the aircraft.

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