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Bent But Not Broken: Mustang Warbirds Collide During Battle of Britain Airshow at Duxford

Two P-51D Mustangs Collided In Mid-Air At The Battle Of Britain Airshow But Both Recovered Safely

P-51D 44-72216 "Miss Helen" flying with a USAF F-35A Lightning II during RIAT 2016. Photograph courtesy Airwolfhound.

On September 23rd 2017, two North American P-51D Mustang warbirds made contact while participating in a Battle of Britain Air Show demonstration flight at Duxford in the UK. Both pilots made Mayday calls and were able to safely recover their damaged aircraft. Neither pilot was injured. The cause of the mishap is under investigation by British authorities. Thanks to YouTuber Aviation Videos & Wildlife FULL HD for uploading this video of the incident. The two Mustangs make contact at the 10:51 mark.

The two aircraft involved were P-51D-20NA Mustang 44-72216 (G-BIXL Miss Helen) and P-51D-25NA Mustang 44-73877 (G-SHWN The Shark). 44-72216 started its service with the 487th Fighter Squadron (FS) of the 352nd Fighter Group (FG) Blue Nosed Bastards of Blodney of the 8th Air Force in 1945. After the war the aircraft was flown by the Swedish and Israeli Air Forces. It was recovered from Israel in 1976 and subsequently restored to private ownership.

Photograph Courtesy Flying Legends / Matt Jones

44-73877 was completed late in the war and served first with the Royal Canadian Air Force post-war. The airplane was sold into private ownership in 1957 and was owned by several entities before restoration was completed by the noted Mustang specialist Darrell Skurich of Vintage Aircraft in Fort Collins Colorado during 1985. First wearing the paint scheme of Old Crow, the airplane was repainted as Cisco and used in the filming of the 1990 Warner Brothers movie Memphis Belle, after which the aircraft was painted to represent Old Crow again and remained in Europe with ownership changing several times. In 2015 the Mustang received its current shark-mouth paint job.

Photograph Courtesy Norwegian Mustang Foundation

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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