November 12, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
The Commemorative Air Force has lost its appeal of a court decision that returns its rare North American P–82 Twin Mustang to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
The Midland, Texas-based group announced the decision Nov. 11. In a judgment filed Nov. 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of the U.S. Air Force. CAF officials are disappointed by the outcome.
“We had hoped that the de novo review would end in favor of the CAF,” said CAF President Stephan Brown. “After countless hours of dedication on behalf of the CAF, our member-volunteers and staff are disheartened by the decision of the court to place the P–82 in the hands of the [Air Force museum] permanently.”
The P–82 Twin Mustang joined the CAF Ghost Squadron in 1966 and was flown in support of the CAF’s mission to Honor American Military Aviation for 20 years, before it was damaged in an accident in 1987. Since the aircraft’s accident, the CAF had been searching within its membership for someone willing to help restore the aircraft. It would have been the only flying Twin Mustang in the world had the CAF had the opportunity to proceed with restoration, the group said in a statement.
“Although the [U.S. Air Force Museum] does not support the CAF’s mission to ‘Keep ‘Em Flying,’ we are honored to support the mission of the U.S. Air Force,” said Brown. “We hope that they will come to see the benefit the CAF and all warbird organizations bring to their recruiting and preservation efforts.”
In the summer of 2009, following the judgment of the district court, the P–82 was dismantled and shipped to the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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