"This Is It"

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"This Is It"

Postby Richard_Green.7811 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:34 pm

A sunny summer day on September 24th, 1973 ... I was driving from Midland, TX to the Midland Airport to catch a Continental flight to my home in El Paso. Traffic was congested on the west bound freeway. I was sitting in traffic at the southern border of the airport (and just so happened, at the southern end of the North / South runway). Out of boredom, I was looking toward the airport and noticed a P51 making its approach to the runway ... however, as it approached, I could see it was not aligned with the pavement ... it was aligned with the grassy area between the runway and the taxiway ... also, the landing gear was not deployed. While riveted to the event as it unfolded, I never regarded the fact the P51 was headed straight for me ... and I had no place to move. As the plane touched down, the spinning prop bent backwards and the plane began skipping until it settled on the grass (continuing at a high rate of speed). Closer ... Closer ... Closer ... This sucker was still traveling about 50mph and was about 35 feet from my car (headed directly for me). As I braced for the impact, the right wing of the plane hit a small red and white electrical maintenance shed and spun into the fence (now about 20 feet from my car). You can imagine the chaos that ensued. After I finally got into the airport and began the check-in procedure, the pilot of the P51 appeared and was making his way to board my flight in order to make connections to Los Angeles for a Book-Signing engagement. As he readied to board the plane ... some folks from the FAA appeared ... and wanted to have a chat with that gentleman ... his name is ... Richard Bach. I returned to the airport about a month later and met up with a friend residing in the area (one of the local ATC controllers). We went over to an FBO where the bird was being loaded onto a flatbed for shipping back to California. It was one of the most beautiful P51's I had ever seen. Blue and silver, painted in Imron (first paint job of its kind I had seen). AMAZING ... fast forward to now ... I live in Thousand Oaks, California and "This Is It", the P51 I had watched crash-land in Midland is now fully restored and hangared about 10 miles from my home. I have not yet been able to access her for a reunion, but because the P51 and T38 are the only two birds on my aircraft bucket list, I am compelled to contact the owner and at least give her a rub-down.

Richard Green
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Re: "This Is It"

Postby fencer » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:00 am

Richard Bach of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" fame. He described his P-51 crash
in his autobiography, which I read years ago. In his book he says he had a tire
blow out, but your eyewitness account has more credibility.
Kent "Fencer" Harbidge
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Re: "This Is It"

Postby Parson » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:06 pm

"Ten miles from my home" -- would that be Camarillo?

My son lives there with his wife and two of my precious grandkids.

As if I needed yet another reason to drive there!
The Parson
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