The Texas Flying Legends Museum will race four planes and perform with six planes at the 54th National Championship Air Races.
B-25J “Betty’s Dream”
The B-25 Mitchell is one of the most iconic aircraft of WWII. With the B-25, the Doolittle Raiders flew the first air strike on Japan; it was one of the few aircraft to fight in all theatres of WWII. Its role as a fast medium bomber was exploited. The B-25 crews flew with distinction, supported ground troops and escorted surrendering generals to the signing of Japan’s surrender.
The TBM Avenger, also known as “The Turkey,” was an important bomber for the Navy in the Pacific. Carrier and land based, it could drop bombs or torpedoes on the enemy. The TBM could have up to a four man crew. It was a TBM that President George H.W. Bush was flying on a bombing raid over a radar installation, when he was hit by flak forcing him to bail out into the Pacific. Look closely at TFLM’s TBM and you will see President Bush’s signature on the tip of one prop blade! TFLM honors President Bush and all the TBM pilots with active displays around the country.
P-40K “Aleutian Tiger”
A front line fighter for the USAAF, the P-40 was already outdated at the start of WWII. That made no difference as our pilots used the P-40’s strengths to the fullest against the enemies’ weaknesses. The “Aleutian Tiger” celebrates the P-40s that fought in the Aleutian Island Battles, the only U.S. soil to be invaded during WWII. Flying in adverse weather against the Japanese Zero, they pushed the enemy back and finally off U.S. soil. The TFLM P-40K was involved in action in Russia.
The Corsair was a strategically important aircraft in WWII and Korea. The aircraft’s speed and agility along with its versatility, made a massive impact on the enemy. Because the Corsair was both a land- and carrier-based front line attack fighter, it served many roles. Flying in the Pacific, they escorted bombers and provided both top cover and ground force support. It was said the Corsair’s bent or “gull wing” design created an eerie whistle when in a dive, thus the enemy’s naming of the aircraft “Whistling Death.”
P-51D “Dakota Kid II”
TFLM’s P-51 “Dakota Kid II” honors Lt. Noble Peterson of New England, ND, who flew 106 combat missions during two tours, March 1944–May 1945. Like many pilots of the day, Lt. Peterson’s main mission was bomber escort as part of the 355th Fighter Group. He participated in what became known as the “Steeple Morden Strafers” who, on secondary missions, had the honor of destroying more aircraft on the ground during strafing missions than any other fighter group. During his two tours of duty, Lt. Peterson was credited with three kills and four probable kills. Lt. Peterson and his crew chief, Robert Coleman, were reunited after sixty-one years in the shadow of “Dakota Kid II”.
Spitfire MkIXc “Half Stork”
The Spitfire is a legendary British aircraft that fought in the Battle of Britain and repelled the enemy, keeping them from landing on English soil. Its unique wing shape provides the Spitfire with its agility in the air and also identifies its famous profile in the sky. While its primary theatre of action was England and France, it was also utilized in Africa and in defense of Australia. It was flown in combat not only by the Brits, but also American, Canadian, Czech, French and Polish pilots. These pilots would fly their Spits continually during the Battle of Britain. TFLM’s Spitfire was flown over the beaches of Normandy by Free French on D-Day +9.