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"Thunder Mustang" -Pressing On-
|FlightLine Update 06/24/98
As the shock of last month's loss wears off, the question comes up: What is going to happen with this amazing aircraft? Company spokesperson, Charles Denney, sheds some light on the mood at Papa 51.
"We at Papa 51 Ltd. Co. are deeply saddened at the loss of our friends and as a tribute to them will work hard to see the dreams they shared and the airplane that they loved continue on to bring satisfaction and joy to those Mustang enthusiasts. Dale was always excited to tell his flying buddies and those who were interested in the Thunder Mustang project of how great it was to be able to fly an airplane that was so sweet and easy to handle. Just shortly before his last flight he was saying that he dearly loved the old nostalgic and romantic Warbirds but that he would rather fly the Thunder Mustang"
"Papa 51 will continue to press forward with the Thunder Mustang project, it is a well designed, well engineered aircraft that has a place in today's aviation industry. The Falconer V-12 is a superb powerplant that accents the technology that has given birth to this airplane. The company's goal is to get the #2 prototype flying in the next several months and continue with the project as planned Our goal is to get the #2 Thunder Mustang flying for Oshkosh".
The "Thunder Mustang" would have been the star of the new Sport Class at Reno '98 we asked Charles if there were any chance of the airplane making an appearance this year?
"Though Oshkosh is the goal for this next Thunder Mustang, plan "B" is to definitely make and race at Reno."
The #1 airplane was slated for getting a supercharger, are similar plans in the works for the #2 airplane?
"Unfortunately, we will probably be racing, as last year, without a supercharger. This airplane was designed to be a stock configuration."
Though it is still too early in the investigation to pinpoint the exact cause of the crash of N151TM, sources close to the process have told us that results from the two recording ECU units from the Ryan Falconer V-12 engine indicate it was running at the time of impact. Initial reports from witnesses had indicated a power loss might have led to the May 30th fatal crash of the P-51 Mustang replica. The FAA and NTSB continue the search for the cause of the accident, representatives of Falconer Engines, and Papa 51 are also involved in the investigation.
AAFO will update this story as more facts become available.