After completing a transatlantic crossing to the UK, P-51B ‘Berlin Express’ arrived at Duxford this morning 4th July 2017. The aircraft took off from South Texas making its first stop in Paducah, Kentucky then onto Chautauqua County/Dunkirk Airport, New York for a night stop, the next point was Bangor International airport, Maine for a gas and go to Goose Bay, Canada which is where they would stay for the night, the next leg would be a night stop at Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland then onto Keflavik International Airport, Iceland for another night stop, this meant that the next leg was the last over water leg which would bring the team into Wick Airport in Scotland where they would stay the night, the next morning at around 08:00am she would depart along with her Beech 350i King Air support aircraft tail registration N724TR to arrive at Duxford IWM on July 4th 2017.
After dodging some weather on the route down from the north at 11:05am the two aircraft arrived at Duxford with “Mustang 01 cleared for run and break runway 24”, both the P-51B and the Beech 350 came in wing to wing for a run and break the King Air then proceeded to land on runway 24 at Duxford as Lee Lauderback took ‘Berlin Express’ out to the holding pattern to await clearance to come back in. After the Beech 350 had taxied into parking on the grass in front of Duxford’s tower Lee Lauderback brought 43-24823 (N515ZB) in for two beautiful passes before touching down to a great welcome from the whole team and the people at Duxford.
The trip is a very special occasion as it is the first time a P-51B Mustang has flown across from America since World War II, this particular P-51 was flown by Captain William “Bill” Overstreet of the 357th Fighter Group ‘Yoxford Boys’ 363rd Fighter Squadron based out of Leiston, Suffolk during World War II. During spring of 1944 Bill Overstreet and the Berlin Express got into a dogfight with a Bf109G over Paris, after fighting for a while the Bf109G pilot in the hope of shaking Overstreet off decided to fly underneath the Eiffel Tower but undeterred by the Germans plan Overstreet stuck behind him and after passing under the Eiffel tower he opened up his four .50 Cal machine guns for a short burst into the German which did eventually end the dogfight with the German crashing.