Warbird Heritage Foundation Acquires P-51 Mustang “Moonbeam McSwine” To Honor Vlado Lenoch

posted in: Warbirds | 8

Vlado Lenoch and Moonbeam McSwine

Moonbeam McSwine is coming home!

The Warbird Heritage Foundation announced Wednesday that they’ve purchased the P-51 Mustang named “Moonbeam McSwine” from its most recent owner, Mr. Frederic Akary of France. The aircraft will reside under a new FAA registration number, N51VL, in honor of Vlado Lenoch.

Vlado and Moonbeam were synonymous; he flew the aircraft for over 20 years before he sold it to Akary in 2012 and began flying WHF’s P-51 Mustang “Baby Duck” at airshows instead. Vlado and passenger Bethany Root were flying in Baby Duck when they were killed in a crash last July. The aircraft was completely destroyed in the incident.

Moonbeam McSwine ReassemblyMoonbeam McSwine Reassembly

Rumors have been swirling for weeks now that Moonbeam was being brought home to the US to be flown as a tribute to Vlado, but until today nothing was confirmed publicly. The aircraft has arrived from overseas and is scheduled to be re-assembled at Tab-Air in East Troy, WI before joining the WHF fleet in Waukegan, IL. If all goes well, the aircraft should be up and flying in time for this summer’s airshow season!

Moonbeam McSwine Reassembly

Moonbeam’s history dates back to October of 1944, when it was manufactured in Inglewood, CA. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, Moonbeam raced in the Reno Air Races. Vlado flew it regularly in the United States Air Force Heritage Flight program (see the video below) before he sold it to Frederic Akary in 2012. Since then, it has been seen regularly at airshows across Europe.

We were fortunate to work with Vlado for many years, and continue to mourn his loss. This tribute is well deserved, and Moonbeam will certainly see many emotional reunions with Vlado’s friends as it returns to the airshow circuit. We look forward to bringing you plenty of photos and videos of this piece of history!

Airshow Performers Ask for Fans’ Help

posted in: Aerobatics, Airshows, Warbirds | 0

Patty Wagstaff

It’s a well known fact that participating in airshows is expensive – planes, fuel, smoke oil, travel, and hotel costs all take a toll on the airshow performer. It’s harder and harder to get and keep sponsorship now than it used to be. As a result, a few airshow performers have taken to unconventional ways of trying to raise funds.

Patty Wagstaff, a Bill Barber Award for Showmanship recipient and inductee into many airshow and aviation hall of fames is asking for help to raise money for a new airplane. She started a GoFundMe campaign, a popular way to raise money through crowd sourcing.

Since starting on July 3rd, the campaign has raised $3,275 (as of July 10th) and is asking for nearly $450,000. Patty, who started the campaign herself posted an explanation on her Facebook fan page for the campaign after receiving some criticism. In it, she says she figured “why not?” when starting the campaign. She needs “a new airplane and needs support,” and says that she “loves supporting other people and think(s) people have been pretty successful on crowdfunding sites.” Fans so far seem to be supportive of her, at least verbally on her fan pages. The page has accumulated over 1,200 total shares.

In addition to Patty’s campaign, another airshow performer, Scott Yoak, who flies a P-51 Mustang affectionately known as “Quicksilver” is also asking for help. Scott’s campaign won’t require you to pull out your credit card though; Quicksilver is in a contest run by Wells Fargo Bank to help out small businesses. Applicants had to write an essay or submit a video saying why they decided to start their business, their mission, the biggest challenge they face, what upcoming business opportunities they seek in the next 2-5 years, and how they would spend $25,000.

Scott talks about keeping history alive and how he and his father, Bill Yoak created Quicksilver P-51 Airshows to “provide a unique opportunity for airshow audiences to see, feel, and hear the power and vibrations of a historic aircraft that helped free a world at war.”

The finalists and grand prize winners will be announced in September. As of July 10th, the entry had over 3,100 views. The number of votes was not given.

#MustangMonday P-51 Fan Photos – June 15th, 2015

posted in: Community, Warbirds | 0

We asked our Facebook fans to share their best P-51 #MustangMonday picture and they delivered! Scroll through the pictures below to see the best fan submissions today on our Facebook page. Just because #MustangMonday is almost over, doesn’t mean the Mustang love has to stop! Feel free to post pictures of the P-51 or any airshow photo you have on our Facebook fan page anytime!

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