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twilight tear p-51 d mustang

A Brief History
"Twilight Tear" is a north american p-51d mustang with a rich history. Delivered to the 78th fighter group in Duxford, England in april, 1945, she arrived late in the war. She was assigned to lt. Hubert "bill" davis, who promptly named her after his favorite race horse. davis shot down three german aircraft, two ME-109's and, notably, an ME-262, Germany's first fighter jet. He also participated in the famous raid on Hitler's eagle's nest near the end of WWII.

After the war, Twilight Tear, along with many other low time fighter aircraft was sold to the Swedish Air Force in 1948, then went on to serve in the Israeli Air Force from 1953-1960.

The aircraft was purchased in 1960 by Bill Lear of lear aircraft fame, was modified and saw civilian life as the demonstration platform for the world's first autopilot.

After crashing in Iceland in 1963, Ttwilight Tear was stored until acquired by an american in 1991. After a few subsequent transfers, it was acquired by Ron Fagen in 2005. While undergoing the restoration, the discovery was made as to the rich history and lineage of this famous aircraft, and the decision was made to restore her to her original specifications when Hubert Davis flew her inWWII.

This complete and meticulous project earned the prestigious "Lindy" at Oshkosh in 2009. The detail is unmatched, right up to and including the functional .50 cal machine guns! (see the video below)

78th Fighter Group
The 78th fighter group was activated in 1942. It initially trained for combat with P-38's and served as part of the west coast air defense organization. Eventually, it moved to England in November 1942 and was assigned to eighth Air Force.

The group was assigned to Duxford Aerodrome in April 1943 and equipped with P-47s. The group consisted of the 82d fighter squadron (mx), 83d fighter squadron (hl), and the 84th fighter squadron (wz).

From Duxford, the 78th flew many missions to escort B-17/B-24bombers that attacked various targets throughout Europe. The unit also engaged in counter-air activities and on numerous occasions strafed and dive-bombed airfields, trains, vehicles, barges, tugs, canal locks, barracks, and troops.

In addition to other operations, the 78th participated in the intensive campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during big week, February 20-25th 1944 and helped to pave the way for the invasion of France. the group supported the landings in Normandy in june 1944 and contributed to the breakthrough at Saint-lô in july 1944.

The group converted to P-51 Mustangs in december 1944 and participated in the battle of the bulge, december 1944 - january 1945. during this time the mustang supported the airborne assault across the rhine in march.

The 78th fighter group received a distinguished unit citation for activities connected with the airborne attack on holland in september 1944 when the group covered troop carrier and bombardment operations and carried out strafing and dive-bombing missions. The group received a second distinguished unit citation for destroying numerous aircraft on five airfields near prague and pilsen on 16 april 1945.

Duxford aerodrome, still exists today and has been beautifully restored to its WWII grandeur. The airfield is owned jointly by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and Cambridgeshire County Council. It is the site of the Imperial War Museum Duxford and the American Air Museum.
firing the guns video

Duxford, England, 1945

Crash Site in Iceland, 1963
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Hubert "Bill" Davis

Twilight Tear in Flight, 1945

Israeli Air Force

click for larger image