The nation’s leading expert on the refurbishment and redesign of the North American P-51 Mustang has died in his Sarasota, Fla., home at the age of 86. David B. Lindsay Jr. is best known to pilots for founding a company that refurbished P-51s for civilian use; however, his real job was that of a journalist and newspaper publisher in Florida and California, following in the steps of his father and grandfather.
Lindsay ran the Cavalier Aircraft Corporation in Sarasota and operated the only FAA-approved repair station for the P-51 engine, the Rolls Royce Merlin. His Cavalier Mustang II counter-insurgency aircraft became the foundation for a turboprop Enforcer that, against opposition by the U.S. Air Force, won funding from Congress for a test program. An Enforcer prototype sits in the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio.
Lindsay’s company held eight supplemental type certificates for P-51 aircraft and three U.S. patents for aircraft design. Many of the aircraft he rebuilt are flying today.
He also was founder and president of Air Caicos, an airline carrying passengers and cargo to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies. Air Caicos and its successor company were the last operators of the Canadair Northstar, a version of the C–54 with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.
A 6,000-hour pilot, he was member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Royal Aero Club (England), and a 50-year member of AOPA. His father was also a pilot, flying French-built SPAD XIIIs and other aircraft in France during World War I, barnstorming in the 1920s, and returning to the Army Air Corps in World War II.
Lindsay published the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (founded by his father, David B. Lindsay) in Sarasota as well as other weekly papers in Florida and California. He was one of the first publishers to refuse cigarette advertisements after his father died from lung cancer caused by smoking. An ecologist, he often used his aircraft to show others the caked sediment left behind by phosphate mining in Florida.