The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D Mustang (551CF) will be ready to join the national Wings of Freedom Tour in 2016. This is one of the world’s finest TF-51D restorations to date. Tens of thousands of hours went into rebuilding this fighter to “brand new” condition. Every surface, rivet, wire and instrument is perfect. The 1450 hp Merlin engine looks like it just came off the factory floor. Think of this fighter as a flying sculpture you can experience!
After WWII, the USAAF consolidated much of its fighter aircraft. Most piston powered fighters served substantially reduced roles as more advanced jet powered aircraft emerged. The Mustang still proved useful serving in the Korean War and state-side in the Air Force Reserves and National Air Guard. TF-51D Mustangs (two-seat trainers) were used to train fighter pilots until the jet-trainers such as the T-33 Shooting Star were fully utilized. The Foundation’s TF-51D is one of three original TF-51Ds remaining in the world. This fighter will be painted in its orginial markings as a West Virginia Air Guard, 167th Fighter Squadron P-51 called “Toulouse Nuts.”
The TF-51D model is a unique Mustang variant with a full dual cockpit and bubble canopy. Following in the footsteps of the Foundation’s beloved P-51C Mustang “Betty Jane,” the new TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” will be available for flight training during the national Wings of Freedom Tour. Imagine flying the legendary P-51 Mustang as it had just rolled out of TEMCO / North American Aviation! Keep an eye on our web site for the debut of “Toulouse Nuts” on Tour.