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 Owners allow close access to Quick Silver P-51D

The P-51D Quick Silver will again be a popular attraction for Warbird enthusiasts at Oshkosh this year.

The Quick Silver P-51D Mustang, one of the most popular warbirds to appear at EAA AirVenture 2007, will make a return visit to Oshkosh this summer. If you missed it the first time around, here's another chance to see this special airplane during the 56th annual convention and fly-in scheduled July 28-August 3.

Quick Silver was a magnet for warbird enthusiasts during AirVenture 2007, as hundreds of visitors took advantage of the owners' offer for an up-close look at the airplane. Many also had the rare opportunity to actually sit in the cockpit. Bill Yoak, who co-owns the airplane with his son, Scott (Quick Silver's pilot), says they intend to again allow the same access to Quick Silver at Oshkosh this year. The line is already forming.

"That's the real reason we want to be there," he said. "We want to give it back to the American people by letting them touch it, get in it."

Quick Silver has another nickname: "The Resurrected Veteran." That's because it was built from parts of more than 200 Mustangs, including documented parts from aircraft that flew in every theater in which the Mustang served.

"It didn't start out as an aircraft, but as a data plate with some parts," Yoak said. More specifically, the aircraft was recovered from the crash in which Gordon Smith was killed in 1961. Yoak, president of Aerospace Specialties Inc., of Lewisburg, West Virginia, acquired all the wreckage for a potential rebuild and spent 14 years restoring it. Aerospace Specialties specializes in aircraft sheet metal work and has made parts for most of the Mustangs seen regularly at Oshkosh and other air shows.

Quick Silver has 1,288 original rivets. The rest are new and done to North American Aviation (NAA) specs. The parts from other aircraft were completely disassembled and inspected for airworthiness, then reassembled using fixtures Yoak made. During the rebuild he made extensive use of the NAA P-51 blueprints, thanks to the late Gerry Beck, who had transferred them to a set of eight CD-ROMs.

The Mustang then went through a one-month certificate of airworthiness inspection to ensure it met all NAA specs.
Yoak brought the airplane to last year's Gathering of Mustangs and Legends event in Columbus, Ohio, again offering up-close examinations as was done in Oshkosh. He called that "a real rewarding experience" because Aces, Tuskegee Airmen, and scores of warbird enthusiasts were able to see it.

This year Yoak plans to again spend the entire week in Oshkosh (he'll be there opening day if the weather cooperates), and visitors can expect to see Quick Silver flying during some of the EAA Warbirds of America air show performances.

"Quick Silver" was the subject of a feature story written by Ken Dawson that appeared in the December 2007 issue of EAA's 'Warbirds' magazine. We've provided a link to a PDF version of that story, which includes further details on its specifications, the airplane's special paint scheme, and more.


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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