It was a wonderful air show, and there's more to be said about it. But sometimes the real world intervenes. Please check back in a few days.
A few days later.
P-51 Mustang - Passenger on Board
A P-51 Mustang is a single seater, and the WWII pilot trainees had to learn to fly in a different type plane. And the first time they flew in a P-51, they flew alone. But, it must have been exhilarating to fly the plane that came to dominate the skies of Europe during WWII.
The Dixie Wing of the CAF got a P-51 Mustang and did some custom work. First, they took out the auxiliary fuel tank, then they did some metal work and bolted a passenger seat behind the pilot's seat. And they travel around to air shows where they will sell plane rides to passengers.
The plane is a WWII antique, and with the modifications it's classified as "experimental." Because of that it's tempting to say the plane has two strikes against it. A person would have to be crazy to ride in it. Insane. Demented. Stark raving mad.
So there we were at about a thousand feet above the ground, and the city of Midland was a blurry haze. The pilot tilted the plane so that the wings were practically perpendicular with the earth. It's an experience to be sitting in a seat, look sideways, and seeing the ground. A stomach churning experience.
The view was fascinating albeit limited from the back seat. The speedometer read 200 MPH, but it was measuring air speed, and we really didn't seem to be moving that fast. But there we were, slicing through the West Texas sky in a mighty P-51 Mustang, keeping the Permian Basin safe from the Luftwaffe.
The pilot brought the plane in just above the runway and then gave it the gas and pulled the stick to the right so that we soared over the terminal accelerating all the while. Eat your hearts out, groundlings. Then we circled back for a landing. It was quite a ride.
And the ticket price? Well, it's all relative. It was a real bargain when you consider that a ride to the Space Station would set you back $20 million.
All in all I would give the trip a grade of "B." It was a once in a lifetime experience, but it got points off because the duration of the flight didn't match the ground salesman's promises. But, by golly, I can say "I did it!"