Friday, October 30, 2015

VINTAGE DREAM FACTORY - Fly a P-51D Mustang and be a Hero for a day

Last weekend, I attended an aviation event at the Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport in Western Belgium, organised by the Vintage Dream Factory; a non-profit organisation based at Antwerp, (Belgium), which is dedicated to the preservation of "Scat VII"; a P-51D (converted to TF-51D) Mustang that was flown by triple ace Maj. Robin Olds at the end of World War II. 

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem

The main objective of the event was for the Vintage Dream Factory to present Scat VII and the organisation to a wider public and to offer some flights to a few very happy people, while being based at the Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport.

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem

While the P-51 is one of the most recognised fighter aircraft of World War II, it is also often referred to as the aircraft that made the Allies win the War. Just this week, the Mustang celebrated 75 years since its first flight!

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem

For most pilots and other aviation geeks, the Mustang sits in the top 3 (if not at the top!), of the most desirable aircraft to be flown. Sadly of the more than 15.000 Mustangs that were built, only about 175 remain airworthy. Of these, some have a small seat installed behind the pilot, but very few have full dual controls with full cockpit instruments like Scat VII has. 

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem
Front seat above

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem
Rear seat above

The TF-51D is exactly that; a P-51D that has been converted, giving the aircraft full training capability for the other pilot. To my knowledge Scat VII is the only flying TF-51D in Europe; making it the best option if one wants to "fly" a Mustang without travelling to the US! 

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem

One can book a 30 min flight (min. 20 flying time) in the rear pilot seat of the Mustang for 2200,-EUR with Vintage Dream Factory. Prices might appear very steep, but are pretty much in line with the other TF-51 operators around the world. 

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem

As an aircraft owner myself, I can assure that operating a Mustang is definitively not cheap! As an example, only the yearly insurance premium is more expensive than buying a new family car. 

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem

Pilots taking a flight can log their flight-time, as all of Vintage Dream Factory pilots hold flight instructor ratings. While an in cockpit GoPro camera records the whole flight, so one take those fantastic memories home!

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem

After the amazing warbird was put to bed, it was time to reflect back on the event over a few Belgian beers... When is my birthday again?

Vintage Dream Factory - P-51/TF-51D Mustang at Kortrijk-Wevelgem

To organise your ultimate dream flight with the Vintage Dream Factory, click here. They also have a great Facebook page where one can follow the latest news this great WWII warbird survivor.

The complete gallery of the images shot during this great event can be found here. All of them were shot with the Fujifilm X-T1 and the XF 18-135 lens.


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