FlightSmith Magazine

Gathering of Mustangs and Legends

December 6, 2006

                    Thunderbirds to Perform at the 2007
                     Gathering of Mustangs and Legends

Just when you thought that The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends ? "The Final Round Up" could not get anymore exciting, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Thunderbird team announced that they will be performing at the Gathering September 27-30, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio.

The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends, to be held at Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, OH will bring together over an estimated 100 beautifully restored P-51 Mustangs.  The P-51 is commonly credited with being a pivotal element in the Allied Forces' effort to win World War II. Since the military retired the P-51Mustang, the aircraft has been purchased by civilians and restored to their original glory.  Of the over 15,000 Mustangs produced, approximately 150 remain in flying condition today.  The Gathering of Mustangs & Legends will hope to bring together over 100   of these aircraft and honor 51 Legends associated with the aircraft such as WWII aces, Tuskegee airmen, crew chiefs, WASP's and more.  This event will recognize and celebrate the contributions of all WWII veterans who are now in their mid-80's.

Lee Lauderback of Stallion 51 Corporation, the premier P-51 Mustang Facility in Kissimmee, FL and event sponsor, expressed his excitement at having the prestigious USAF Thunderbird aerial demonstration team announce they will perform at the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends event. "What a terrific way to help celebrate the history of the P-51 Mustang! The Thunderbird team will help honor the contributions of the men and women who designed, built and flew the P-51, one of the greatest propeller driven airplanes of all time, as well as pay tribute to today's heroes who are helping defend our freedoms.  The sounds of freedom filling the skies will link generations of great planes and pilots.  Seeing and hearing the aviation history that has evolved into the F-16s being flown by the Thunderbirds today will be a memorable element of the Gathering", stated Lauderback, after being notified that the Thunderbirds had chosen the Gathering for one of their coveted stops during the 2007 air show season. The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots and over 100 support personnel who incorporate the maneuvers and techniques that won the war over the skies of Europe over 60 years ago into a powerful, spell-binding display of aerial ballet. The hour long show combines formation and solo flying mixing 40 exciting maneuvers that are amazing if performed alone but are awe-inspiring when performed in perfect close harmony over head.

"Stallion 51 Corp and Columbus could not be more thrilled with the prospect of adding even more to this once in a lifetime world class aviation celebration," said Lauderback.

"We are honored the USAF Thunderbirds will be performing in Columbus at the 2007 Gathering of Mustangs and Legends." said Elaine Roberts, President & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates Rickenbacker International Airport. "The precision aerial maneuvers exhibited by the Thunderbirds are sure to be a crowd pleaser and will be a fitting tribute to the World War II 51 legends to be honored at the Mustang event."

For more information, contact KT Budde-Jones Media Director for the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends  (407) 846- 7251 or Angie Tabor, Manager of Communications for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, at (614) 239-4081.