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Fri, Oct 17, 2003

Help Restore P-51H/F-51H

Yes, It's Rare...

The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum in Rantoul (IL) is launching a concerted effort via the World Wide Web to generate support for the restoration of the North American Aviation P-51H Mustang on display at the museum.

[Note: this machine was built in 1944, which makes it a "P" rather than an "F" -51H, more a distinction than a difference --ed.]

The Mustang is one of only five 'H' models known to remain in the world, and years spent as an outdoor display has taken its toll on this once-fine aircraft, which is currently wearing Massachusetts ANG colors.

Headed by museum volunteer Norm Meyers, the Mustang Restoration Project allows Mustang enthusiasts from all over the world to participate in the restoration process.

Through donations of money, parts, supplies and expertise, the ultimate goal is to return this aircraft to as close to its original condition as is possible.

Additionally, Norm hopes to collect documents, photos and stories from the men and women who built, maintained and flew the 'H' Mustangs to save the history surrounding this, the last front line piston engine, single seat fighter employed by the US Air Force.

Donations of books, manuals, vintage parts, and expert restoration advice constitute another major area for participation.

Appeal to Aero-News readers:

Museum Executive Director Jim Snyder told ANN he'd, "love to get a new canopy on it -- it doesn't need to be a 'flyable' canopy." The machine won't take off -- it still belongs to the USAF, and "Our loan agreement with the Air Force says it will never fly again. We want them to stay happy."

And although it's not going to fly again, the Merlin under the cowl is complete, and is slated for restoration.

With the power of the Internet, the project hopes to reach aviation enthusiasts from around the world and invite them to become part of the restoration team.

Corporate and Organizational sponsors are being sought to help in this project and aviation websites are participating through links to the project site.

Donors can receive frameable certificates for their participation as well as being honored on the web site and on a permanent display within the museum. Sponsors can participate through site sponsorship, and contributions of parts or material supplies and services.

The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum is a non-profit aviation museum located on the site of the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul (IL). As the largest aerospace museum in Illinois, O.C.A.M. is challenging itself to become a world-class facility.

Inquiries are welcomed.

FMI: www.aeromuseum.org/Exhibits/Restorations/P51H/RestorationHome.htm; email Norm Myers: p51h@insightbb.com

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