The OFMC Mustang was built at the North American Aviation Factory at Inglewood, California and accepted by the USAAF on 27/02/1945. One month later she was sent to the 8th Air Force, via Newark and Liverpool docks, serving at Leiston in Suffolk among other stations. She stayed in England for only 11 months and went back to Newark, New Jersey in January 1946. She was then kept in storage before moving to the Royal Canadian Air Force 9568 on 18/04/1947 and operated in Suffield, Alberta. In 1953 with only total 433 flying hours she was completely overhauled in Winnipeg. On 4/01/1954, after only 81 hours, she was put into outside storage in Carberry Manitoba, and sold in 1957 into private hands and registered as N6340T. The aircraft was bought for $5,400 in 1962 and had a total of 511 airframe hours. In 1974, she flew in the Unlimited race at Reno finishing second with an average speed of 384mph in what was effectively a stock (original) aeroplane.
In April 1980 the aircraft flew across the Atlantic to her new owners, The Fighter Collection. She was re-sprayed and known as Candyman / Moose from the name on one side of the fuselage and the Moose’s head on the other. The Mustang was first displayed in the UK at Biggin Hill in 1981, flown by Ray Hanna, the OFMC’s founder.
In 1989, after filming in “Memphis Belle”, the aircraft was given a complete overhaul by The Fighter Collection at Duxford. The airframe was remarkably free of corrosion and damage, but a full strip down and component overhaul was undertaken. An overhauled original flying panel was installed. The rear fuel tank in the fuselage has been removed and a wartime style modification made to fit a ‘dickey’ seat. This ‘mod’ in 1944 allowed Eisenhower to survey the D-day beaches from the back of a Mustang. A special 1720hp Merlin engine now powers the aircraft.
OFMC acquired the aircraft early in 1999 and now carries the colours of Wallace E. Hopkins, â€œFerocious Frankieâ€, named in honour of his wife Frankie, coded B7 H of the 374th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group. Wallace Hopkins was born in Washington, Georgia and flew a total of 76 combat missions with the 361st where he flew as Operations Officer. He was an ACE credited with 8 victories and 1.5 damaged. His decorations include the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross both with Oak Leaf Clusters and the French Croix de Guerre, one of four awarded to members of the 361st.
The OFMC Mustang played a major part in the Breitling Fighters Team and this year she will fly in many events throughout Europe.