Pages Menu

Categories Menu

Posted on Oct 8, 2007 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Mustangs and Legends

By Paul Glasser

This weekend, an estimated 150,000 spectators attended the 2007 Gathering of Mustangs and Legends at Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.

More than 100 P-51 Mustangs were on display and approximately 50 World War II aces were also in attendance. Columbus was the base of the  447th Composite Group-332nd Fighter Group, known as the Tuskegee airmen, during World War II. Several Tuskegee veterans and WASP pilots also participated.

The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends represented a remarkable collection of World War II history because only 150 P-51 fighters are still airworthy and only 80 P-51 aces survive. Other highlights included a demonstration by the U. S. Airforce Thunderbirds and performances by F-16, F-15 and F-22 pilots.


However, the P-51 was the star both in the skies over Europe and World War II and at the Columbus air show. The powerful 12-cylinder Merlin engine generated almost 1,500 hp, giving the iconic Mustang a top speed of 505 mph and letting it climb to 20,000 ft in a little over 7 minutes. With a range of 2,100 miles, the Tuskegee airmen flew P-51s while escorting B-17 bombers deep into Germany. During World War II, 274 pilots became aces using the six 0.50 caliber guns on the Mustang. 

The event has grown since it began in Kissimmee, Fla, in 1999, where the first program drew 65 Mustangs and a dozen veterans.

The finale on Sunday included a massive pyrotechnic show. A series of P-51s conducted mock strafing attacks near the airfield and several B-17s, B-25s and a Lancaster also made bombing runs.

Click the pictures for larger versions.



[continued on next page]

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6