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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed P-51 fires restored .50-caliber guns

By MARK PHELPS
Twilight Tear
Stefan Hokuf re-creates the original nose art on Twilight Tear, a combat veteran P-51 Mustang of the 78th Fighter Group, Duxford, England.
Guns
A look at the target after the test firing of Twilight Tear’s guns.

Stefan Hokuf concentrates on applying some very special nose art at AirVenture 2011, re-creating an event that took place originally at Duxford, England, during World War II. Recently completed, Twilight Tear is not just painted in the colors of the original 78th Fighter Group Mustang, it is the original. Owner Ron Fagen asked Stefan to paint the name on the side, just as he did on Fagan’s P-38 Ruff Stuff in 2007.

Fagan jumped through all the bureaucratic hoops needed to acquire a license from the ATF as a machine gun manufacturer so he could restore a set of six Browning .50-caliber guns. With help from a Minnesota National Guard expert and cooperation from local law enforcement, they jacked up the Mustang’s tail and fired the guns into a berm at 75 yards on a range built by Fagen’s excavation company. You can watch the video on a screen alongside the airplane here at AirVenture.

It looks just like the old films of boresighting Mustang guns during the war, only in color. The banner “target” is also on display next to Twilight Tear, complete with all the half-inch bullet holes.

But the guns you see here in Twilight Tear’s wings are not the real ones. ATF rules are much stricter once the airplane leaves the ground. So Fagen has aluminum replica Brownings installed in the wings, and the real .50 calibers stayed home in Minnesota under lock and key.

Look for a detailed story on Twilight Tear in an upcoming issue of EAA Sport Aviation.

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