On July 9, 2011, we attended the Wings of Freedom Tour, presented by the Collings Foundation, at the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport. The Collings Foundation travels the country with several WWII bombers and a dual control P-51C Mustang, “Betty Jane,” a razorback “C” model (as opposed to the bubble-canopy “D” model that came out later in the war).
Several “C” models were modified to carry a passenger in a second cockpit behind the pilot. One of the most famous of these two seat fighters, “The Stars Look Down,” was used by Dwight Eisenhower, and he rode in the back seat of that Mustang over the beaches of Normandy to direct the D-Day invasion.
While looking at our pictures of “Betty Jane,” we realized that we had shots of her similar to several photos from the 359th Fighter Group’s archives, so we thought a side-by-side comparison of those photos might be interesting - a "D" that served the 359th Fighter Group versus a currently flying, dual-control "C."
“Caroline," Lt. Thomas P. Smith's P-51D CS-E 44-13893, versus “Betty Jane.” Left image of "Caroline" courtesy of Thomas P. Smith: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.
“CisCo” P-51D CS-Q 44-15277 is one of the last P-51s assigned to the 359th Fighter Group during their final weeks in the ETO, versus "Betty Jane." Left image of "CisCo" courtesy of Thomas P. Smith: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.
P-51 Instrument Panels: Left image courtesy of Robert J. Guggemos: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.
And here’s one last photo of “Betty Jane” – we had no similar 359th Fighter Group archived photo to compare.