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Kermit Weeks' Fantasy Of Flight Museum

P51D 413321 'Cripes A'Mighty'Tom McGhee takes a look at Polk City, Florida.

Situated less than half an hour’s drive from Orlando, the collection of aircraft at the Fantasy Of Flight Museum includes many unique flyable aircraft as well as some immaculately restored examples. The grass runway and adjoining lake mean amphibious aircraft are able to operate from here and the impressive facilities available here are put to good use.

The set piece displays that first greet the visitor inside are brilliantly done, if a little gloomy. The walk through B-17G "Piccadilly Princess" at Horham Airbase near Eye, Suffolk, is especially noteworthy as it actually feels as if you are on an 8th Air Force bombing mission over Germany during the Second World War.

The main hangar collection is a diverse assortment but all aircraft are in pristine condition. Special mention must go to NA P-51D Mustang "Cripes A' Mighty 3rd" (44-13321) which is still a regular flyer and is probably in better condition now than when it rolled out of the factory well over 50 years ago.

Spitfire TE476A large collection of training aircraft from around the world are here including a German Bu.181 Bestmann (Wrk no. 461), and from Australia an Avro Cadet 643 (A6-25).

56-143170 is an immaculate flyable Bell 47 (H-13G to the US Army, Sioux to Britain) and is painted with 4077th MASH markings brought to prominence by the movie and TV series MASH. A more unusual helicopter in the form of the 13th example of Hiller's YH-32 Hornet is also here, complete with rotor tip mounted ramjet engines.

Budding fighter pilots can take part in dogfights against friends and family in "Fightertown", a collection of F4U cockpit mockups on the flight deck of "USS Yorktown" which participate in missions against each other.

Outside on the real flightline, the regular flyers and outsize aircraft await. Notable amongst these are the last airworthy Shorts Sunderland (ML814), which was converted from a RAF Coastal Command anti-submarine aircraft into a civilian passenger carrier complete with upper-deck bar area.

F3F-2 1028Another unique flyer here is the last airworthy B-26 Marauder (N4297J) in the unusually plain markings of the USAAF. A further NA P-51D Mustang (the world famous "Old Crow" 44-14450) is based here alongside a B-24J Liberator (42-50551 "Joe") plus an unusual Beech (N288OD).

This is another worthwhile but pricey museum to visit if you are in Central Florida, with various flying displays, presentations and tours taking place throughout the day as well as an interesting and unusual selection of aircraft to view.

Further information can be found at http://www.fantasyofflight.com.

Residents listing:

Serial Type Notes
S-2 Tracker cockpit "6"
N1920 Spad? "G"
237994 B-17G Flying Fortress "BG-L", "Piccadilly Princess"
MoS1573 Morane Saulnier MS-A1 "12", French AF
49128 Standard E-1
Thomas Morse S4 Scout
56-143170 H-13G N147DP
N125JC Hiller YH-32 Hornet (13th out of 17 built)
A6-25 Avro Cadet 643 VH-PRU
138 FW.44J Steiglitz "TQ+BC", NX44FW
1177 Bucker-Jungmann 131 "GD+EG", NX41455
TE476 Spitfire XVI "GE-D", "Winston Churchill", NX476TE
A-7 Corsair cockpit
86956 Grumman FM-2 Wildcat "4", N222FM
44-13321 NA P-51D Mustang "HO-P", "Cripes A' Mighty 3rd", NL921
461 Bu.181 Bestmann "AM+YA", NX181BU
45-4883 L-4J Grasshopper "JK", N5798N
42-16621 BT-13 cockpit
33311 NA AT-6D Texan "245B"
1028 F3F-2 "7-F-7", N26KW
K4235 Avro Rota "KX-H"
190 Stampe SV-4C "6", NX1606
10 Soviet trainer
V9545 Lysander IIIA "BA-C" N3093K
NX156FS Fi.156C-1 Storch "KF+XL"
97286 F4U-4 Corsair "C-5", "Angel of Okinawa"
41-11825 B-24D Liberator nose "Hail Columbia"
08 Mitsubishi Zero
Flightline
ML814 Sunderland G-BJHS, N814ML
Avro 504
N4297J B-26 Marauder
44-14450 NA P-51D Mustang "B6-S", "Old Crow", N6341T
42-50551 B-24J Liberator "RR-R+", "Joe" (really 44-44272, N94459?)
N288OD Beech AT-11 "J-B-9"

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