P-51 Recreates WWII Atlantic Flight

 - July 10, 2017, 10:17 AM

A restored P-51B Mustang named Berlin Express has made an historic transatlantic flight between Texas and England, following the same 5,470-mile route it took as part of the troop buildup in the United Kingdom during World War II, routing via Paducah, Ky; Dunkirk, N.Y.; Bangor, Maine; Goose Bay, Canada; Narsarsuaq, Greenland; Keflavik, Iceland; and Wick, Scotland before arriving at Duxford Airfield in England.

Piloted by Lee Lauderback of the USAF Heritage Flight, the aircraft touched down at Duxford after six days on July 4, almost 73 years after the aircraft flew under the Eiffel Tower with Bill Overstreet at the controls. The aircraft shot down a German Messerschmitt Bf-109G in the war.

At the time of writing, Berlin Express was preparing to perform in Duxford’s 25th annual Flying Legends airshow, held on July 8 and 9, piloted by owner Dan Friedkin as part of The Horsemen Team, the world’s only P-51 Mustang formation aerobatic team. 

Friedkin is chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group, Horsemen Flight Team member and founder of the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation. “It’s an honor to pilot this aircraft in the Flying Legends airshow as we pay homage to the brave men and women who have flown in the U.S. Air Force,” he said.

Friedkin will also pilot the Berlin Express with the Air Combat Command’s F-22 aerial demonstration team at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, UK, on July 15 and 16.

The restored Berlin Express is based around the remains of P-51B 43-24837. This Mustang flew with the 9th Air Force’s 363rd Fighter Group out of RAF Staplehurst in Kent, England. It crashed at Beckley on June 10, 1944, after the pilot was forced to bail out during a training exercise. Sporting a Malcolm Hood canopy and wearing the markings for Berlin Express, it is dressed exactly like the 357th Fighter Group Mustang Overstreet flew under the Eiffel Tower in 1944.