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  P-51D-20-NA "Upupa Epops" Serial Number 44-72364  
USAAF
Dominican Air Force
Swedish Air Force

Former Assignments
8th AF
353rd FG
352nd FS

Aircraft History
Built by North American at Inglewood, California. During 1944, assigned to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 8th Air Force, 353rd Fighter Group, 352nd Fighter Squadron. On March 1, 1945 assigned to pilot Captain Harrison B. "Bud" Tordoff who nicknamed the plane "Upupa Epops", the scientific name for the Hoopoe Bird.

For the next six weeks, this aircraft was flown by Tordoff on combat missions over Europe. On March 31, 1945 Tordoff calimed an enemy aircraft. On April 7, 1945 Tordoff claimed a Me-262 shot down at long range, his fifth claimed victory.

Postwar
During 1947, this aircraft was sold to Sweden. Assigned to the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) coded "Fv26061". Operated in Sweden until 1954. Afterwards, sold to the Dominican Republic arriving on October 31, 1952. Assigned to the Fuerza Aérea Dominicana (Dominican Air Force) coded "FAD 1916".

During 1984, purchased by Florida warbird dealer Brian O'Farrell and transported to the United States. In 1999, acquired by "a shadowy consortium of airline pilots in the Pacific Northwest", presumed to be Vulcan Warbirds / Paul Allen Collection.

Restoration
During the early 2000s, restored over two and half years by WestPac Restoration (Klaers Aviation) at Rialto Airport. Restored to flying condition and painted in the wartime markings of "Upupa Epops".

Display
On May 12, 2004 registered with the FAA as N723FH by Vulcan Warbirds and flown to Arlington, Washington to the Flying Heritage Collection (FHC) / Paul Allen Collection at Arlington, Washington.

Since 2004, displayed at the Flying Heritage Collection (FHC) / Paul Allen Collection. At the opening of the museum, this aircraft was reunited with former pilot Tordoff. Displayed with original maps used by former pilot Tordoff.

References
The Seattle Times "Taking a flight back in time: Paul Allen launches warplane collection" April 21, 2004
WarbirdRegistry - P-51D 44-72364
FAA Registry P-51D 44-72364
The Short Snorter Project - Short Snorter Club Registry (pilot photo)
HeraldNet "A plane name only an ornithologist could love" December 13, 2012
The Flying Heritage Collection- Cory's Blog "That Name" by Cory Graff December 13, 2012
Air & Space "Crown Jewels" by Peter Garrison November 2004
"a shadowy consortium of airline pilots in the Pacific Northwest bought the P-51 from Florida warbird dealer Brian O'Farrell. The so-called consortium—really a front for an anonymous collector—delivered it to WestPac Restorations in Rialto, California"
USAF Aerial Victory Credits - Lt. Harrison B. Tordoff
YouTube "Flying Heritage Collection opens to the public in 2004" 2:40-4:10

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-51
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