For many years many fans of the Flying Bulls asked themselves why a Mustang is still missing in this flying museum. Over the years and through many contacts the “Day X” came for the Flying Bulls when it was possible to acquire a P-51 Mustang. The offer came from France where a well maintained Mustang known in the airshow scene for about 20 years was offered for sale under the nickname “Nooky Booky IV”.
What was also special about this Mustang was the remarkable history as many other Flying Bulls aircraft have. Still manufactured at the end of World War II under serial number 44-74427, the Mustang spent some time in a US Army Air Force production surplus depot, sharing the fate of many fighters and bombers for which there was simply no longer a use. It was not reactivated until 1950, when it was still in service with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a fighter and fighter aircraft, although it was probably already foreseeable at this time that the new jet aircraft would determine the future of the air forces. Thus, this Mustang also changed hands several times after it was retired from the Canadian Air Force.
The most prominent owner of this P-51 was probably the flying ace and legendary test pilot Bob Hoover who had this aircraft painted lemon yellow in the early 1960s and gave the Mustang the apt nickname “Ole Yeller” – just to attract even more attention and underline his daring but skillful flight maneuvers.
After participating in many airshows, the aircraft was sold by Mr. Hoover in the 1970s, passed through several hands again, and finally made it to France. The aircraft was disassembled and put into storage until 2003, when the
SDPA Association was found and acquired. The aircraft was in good condition and assembly was completed in late 2004. The “Nooky Booky IV” took part in numerous airshows, was also used for movies such as ‘Saint-Exupéry’ or ‘Red Tails’ and was also featured in television commercials.
At the beginning of March 2021, the time had come. After the Flying Bulls had reached a contractual agreement with the previous owner, the “Nooky Booky IV” – incidentally painted in homage to the flying ace Major Leonard “Kit” Carson – set off for Salzburg. The pilot in charge and Airshow veteran George Perez brought not only the newly acquired jewel but also a large portfolio of knowledge about the Mustang to Salzburg. The Mustang arriving from France was received by what must have been a unique honor formation over the skies of Europe – the P-38 Lightning and the F4U-4 Corsair. Both escort aircraft, like the P-51 Mustang, once formed the backbone of the U.S., as well as other air forces.
Even though the P-51 Mustang can still be seen quite often at airshows around the world, it is still one of the most sought-after warbirds. Even Tom Cruise proudly and boldly presents his own P-51 in the new “Top Gun Movie”.
Just as coveted and preceded with an almost spiritual reputation, the Mustang was also the fighter par excellence for almost all pilots in the 1940s. Bomber crews who had to make their missions dependent on the protection of Mustang pilots also respectfully gave their protectors of the time the title “Little Friends.”
At the time, the Mustang was one of the fastest fighter aircraft, which could also take on any opponent in principle. Its long range long-range missions put this aircraft in first place for all requested missions for complex missions.
Even today, every pilot must be able to respectfully handle the 1,400-plus horsepower Mustang that carries the 12-cylinder V-Packard-Merlin V-1650 powerplant under its hood. Even though the P-51 is considered very reliable, every pilot must familiarize himself with the peculiarities and handling of this nevertheless complex aircraft.