During World War II, North American P-51 Mustangs were flying en masse from the United States to Europe to join the Allies in the fight. Today, more than 70 years after the war, it is extremely rare to see P-51s follow the same route. However, this week, Lee Lauderback, the owner and chief pilot of Kissimmee, Florida-based Stallion 51, is flying one of those historic warbirds from the United States to England.
The airplane Lauderback is flying was named “Berlin Express.” During a dogfight with a Messerschmitt Bf 109 in 1944, Berlin Express was flown underneath the Eiffel Tower by American fighter pilot Bill Overstreet. Overstreet won the battle and returned safely to base. Berlin Express crashed during a training mission later on, but the restored version of the warbird is in pristine condition.
Lauderback will take Berlin Express on an approximate 5,470-mile-long journey from Texas to Duxford Airfield, about 10 miles south of Cambridge, England. The flight, which will follow the typical transatlantic track over Bangor, Maine; Goose Bay, Canada; Narsarsuaq, Greenland; and Keflavik, Iceland, will be tracked using a Spot Gen3. Through this satellite tracking device you can follow Lauderback’s track by clicking this link.
Berlin Express is scheduled to fly in the Flying Legends Airshow on July 8 and 9, with its new owner, Dan Friedkin, at the controls. Friedkin will fly along with Steve Hinton and Ed Shipley as part of the Horsemen Flight Team - the world’s only P-51 Mustang formation aerobatic team. The following weekend, on July 15 and 16, Friedkin will perform alongside Air Combat Command’s F-22 aerial demonstration team at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford.