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Your chance to fly a P–51Your chance to fly a P–51

Supporting a great cause

What started as a passion project in 1983 by Mary Webb has blossomed into one of the Southeast’s largest public benefit flying organizations. Today, volunteer pilots for Mercy Flight Southeast fly approximately 1,500 passengers a year to medical appointments around the Southeast.

The North American P–51 Mustang "Crazy Horse" is one of the horses in Stallion 51's stable of aircraft. Photo by Chris Rose.

Based at the Leesburg International Airport in Florida, the organization has yearly revenue of more than $2.5 million, most of it through donations. Additional revenue comes through fundraising, including a yearly program where the organization awards a ride in a North American P–51 Mustang to a lucky supporter.

One supporter is selected to fly for an hour with Lee Lauderback in his company’s P–51 at Stallion 51 in Kissimmee, Florida. Also included is round-trip airfare to and from the Orlando area. Lauderback is widely believed to be the highest-time Mustang pilot in the world, and the flight affords the chosen pilot lots of opportunity to do some hands-on flying.

To support Mercy Flight Southeast or to learn more about the organization, visit the website. There you can also find information related to the Mustang flight experience, which is open until June 21.

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly is senior content producer for AOPA Media.

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