When I win the Lottery I’m going to buy one of these.

‹ Return to

P-51D Mustang Big Beautiful Doll

P51 Mustang, in my opinion the most beautiful looking and sounding machine ever to take to the air. American planes, British engines. The best fighter of WWII. In Europe, USAAF P51s accounted for nearly half of all enemy aircraft destroyed.

But it’s a poor shot. This was my first airshow, and I learnt a lot, not least that it’s pointless turning up at an airshow without a 400mm lens. No matter. I’ll know for next time. As for this photo, it has been magnified more times than an individual apple pie on a Mr Kipling’s advert. Look closely and you’ll see the pixels.

This P51D is flown by American aviator Ed Shipley of The Horsemen, the world’s only Mustang flight demonstration team. The roar of 3 Mustangs charging overhead in formation was the highlight of the day for me. I was blown away by them, stood there, mouth agape and getting a suntan.

This particular Mustang has appeared in various movies including Saving Private Ryan – remember at the end of the film, where Tom Hanks is shooting his pistol at an oncoming tank, which then blows up? And the P51 soaring overhead was described incorrectly as a ‘tank buster’ (which would have been a P47 but never mind). It currently wears the markings of P51D 44-72917 Big Beautiful Doll. That aircraft was flown by Colonel John Landers USAF from Duxford airbase between 1944 and 1945.


Sadly this aircraft crashed on July 10th 2011 at The Flying Legends Airshow (which was where this photo was taken) after it was clipped by a Douglas A-1 Skyraider. Pilot Rob Davies safely parachuted down.

Click this link for photos of Big Beautiful Doll’s last moments

16 comments on “When I win the Lottery I’m going to buy one of these.
  1. Tim Spicer Photography says:

    Nice shot a lovely looking Mustang as well.

  2. ​favourite waste of time​ says:

    well I agree it does look smashing.. At this point I should ask Ian – do you have a pilot’s license? and have you ever flown one of these babies?

  3. Ian D B says:

    No, though I’d love to. I once took a hour’s lesson in a Piper Cherokee, not quite a P51 but it was great fun. I’ll have to wait for that lottery win before I can do much more.

  4. ​favourite waste of time​ says:

    I have been up in several small planes – used to work for a small charter company and when the pilots were doing a run after engine maintenance they would ask us girls if we wanted a spin around.. Loved taking off and landing and being right there in the front looking at all the gauges and stuff.. funny that I am scared of flying though.. 🙂

  5. Ian D B says:

    "they would ask us girls if we wanted a spin around"

    Yeah, the flash bastards!!!

    Funny your fear of flying – me too. The light aircraft lesson was an attempt at overcoming that, and it did to an extent. My instructor was very good, she explained how an aircraft is designed to bob in the air like a boat bobs on the sea. Made sense to me. It’s airliners that scare the living daylights out of me, just the size of the things.

  6. RamizPhotography says:

    Really well captured buddy. The background blends really nice with the picture overall.

  7. redrocker_9 says:

    Very cool shot and now you know better for next time as to what you need to bring!
    Good luck with the lottery 😉

  8. pasujoba says:

    No matter still a great shot . looks like you are up there with it from the angle .

  9. stuant63 says:

    Yep great angle – nice nice looking aircraft too. I prefer the Spitfire though 😉

  10. Billy Currie says:

    Not sure I’ve ever heard one but it certainly does look stunning.

    Not so much military but I’ve had a shot of an eagle biplane and jumped out of otter’s, casa’s, turbolet’s, dornier’s, cessna’s, islanders, etc if you know any of them.

  11. Ian D B says:


    you’ve parachuted out of all these aircraft? I’m impressed!

  12. Billy Currie says:

    Yip, was part of a team and jumped around europe and in the US. Haven’t done it for a few years now. Had some great fun.

  13. Tech Owl says:

    Wonderful in flight shot – well caught Ian.

  14. cgullz says:

    sexy lil number.

  15. Ian D B says:

    Alas this P-51D Mustang is no more. A very sad loss.

  16. mambo1935 says:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *