By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
A historic fighter plane that’s the centerpiece for the Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras is set to become a new attraction at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
But before the P-51 Mustang can fly, it needs to be taken apart.
“Probably the most recognizable fighter of World War II,” said Jim Martinelli, Director of Operations for the Erickson Aircraft Collection
On Monday, it will be shipped and relocated to Hawaii where it will fly over the same place it did during World War II.
“It’s a very very significant piece of history,” he said. “It’s literally the airplane that some claim won the war, won World War II.”
Once it’s in Hawaii, you can enjoy more than just the history of this fighter plane.
In fact, you can take a flight for yourself.
“You’ll be able to purchase a ride in this airplane, one person at a time,” said Martinelli. “And you’ll be able to fly around the island of O’ahu and see the historic battle sites from the air the same as the fighter pilots on December 7th. So you have the airplane that won the war, flying over the airspace where the war started.”
But this plane holds more than just historical significance.
“It is actually the first airplane that started the Erickson Aircraft Collection,” Martinelli said. “Mr. Erickson purchased the airplane in 1991, and it is the cornerstone of our collection.”
Although the P-51 Mustang will soon be leaving Madras, Martinelli says it will always be a part of the Erickson Collection.
“We’re not losing it, it’s like a child going off to college. We’re sending it there and we, Erickson, will be operating it,” he said. “So it’s really just operating out of a different airport in our mindset.”