The Aircraft

North American P51D Mustang Trusty Rusty (PH-JAT)

  • North American P-51D Mustang
  • Operator: Stichting Vroege Vogels / Early Birds Foundation.
  • Year of Manufacture: 1944 -45
  • Powered by: Packard RR Merlin
  • Colour Scheme: ‘Trusty Rusty’ USAAF 364 FS. 357th FG. Leiston, Suffolk, England during WWII. Captain Robert P. ‘Bob’ Winks.

This particular P-51 Mustang was built at the end of World War II by North American Aviation Inc. in Inglewood CA. She flew with the USAF serialled 44-74923 until 1956, serving in the Air National Guards of New Mexico, New Hampshire and Illinois respectively and for training and instruction. Between 1957 and 1969 her civil use was with several crop-dusting companies in California, USA.

In 1969 the Mustang was delivered to the Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña serialled FAS410. Five years later, the (most likely damaged) fighter returned to the States. A first restoration started. Between 1982 and 1992, this Mustang was a frequent participant of the Air Races op Reno NV, most recently as #38 “Miss Ashley”.

In 1994 Jaap van Mesdag purchased “Miss Ashley” for the Early Birds collection and had her shipped to the Netherlands. After arrival in the Netherlands in 1995, the plane was stored. Restoration to airworthy condition started in 2004 by volunteers of Vroege Vogels / Early Birds. Test flying ended in 2016 and the fighter became a frequent visitor of airshows and other events. This P-51D Mustang has dual controls and is available for training and familiarization flight.


Images: Ben Ullings