Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mustang Flights Australia CAC CA-18 Mk21 Mustang VH-MFT 'Snifter' Calls into Rockhampton and Mackay Airports

The unmistakable sound of the Mustang Flights Australia CAC CA-18 Mk21 Mustang VH-MFT (commonly known as 'Snifter') filled the skies over Rockhampton and Mackay on Tuesday 11 October as it departed Caboolture Airport on the first legs of a flight to Townsville.

VH-MFT initially touched down at Rockhampton Airport where it spent time parked outside the Rockhampton Aero Club.

The World War II era fighter plane was met with some keen and eager plane spotters and enthusiasts, as well as local media and many others who just came for a look.  'IAD' and Travis W were just two of gathered local who share with us some of their lovely photos!

After a couple of hours on the ground in Rocky - which allowed Travis to have a closer look at this beautiful aircraft - VH-MFT was refuelled and later departed for Mackay Airport where it is expected to remain until Friday 14 October.

It will then continue North to Townsville where it will participate in the T150 Defence Force Air Show which is scheduled to be held on Saturday 15 October over The Strand.  There will also be an Open Day at RAAF Base Townsville on Sunday 16 October.

If anyone is feeling adventurous, and has some money burning a hole in their back-pocket, joyflights are available in the Mustang during its stays in Mackay and Townsville.  Joyflights can be taken from the Mackay Aero Club building on the Eastern side of Mackay Airport on Wednesday 12 October and Thursday 13 October.  For more information or to book a joyflight, you should contact Dave Kelly on 0402 788 980.

Meanwhile, VH-MFT 'Snifter' has an interesting history being one of some 200 CA-18 Mk21 Mustang aircraft that the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) built in Victoria under licence from North American Aviation in the USA. The American designation for the Mustang was P-51D.

VH-MFT was manufactured in Australia in 1947 and delivered to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1948 it served as A68-110.  It was subsequently decommissioned and then sold for scrap in 1957.

However in the mid-1990's the ambitious restoration project saw the airframe shipped back to Australia where the aircraft was registered VH-MFT at Caboolture and a full restoration was undertaken by locally-based Sandora Aviation.  The aircraft was then restored and painted as P-51D-NT Mustang IV A68-769.  VH-MFT 'Snifter' took the air once again in 2002.

A68-769 was also delivered to the RAAF but in August 1945.  A68-769 was the personal aircraft of the Commanding Officer of No.82 Squadron in Japan.  The aircraft was subsequently transferred into No.77 Squadron and was used in combat in Korea.

VH-MFT is powered by a Packard Merlin V-1650-7 12 Cylinder Vee, liquid cooled engine rated 1490 hp at sea level, 1720 hp at 6300ft & 1565 hp at 17250 ft.  It has a Hamilton Standard Four Bladed Constant Speed Propeller that is 11ft 2in (3.4m) in diameter.

You can read more about VH-MFT (A68-110) - as well as each individual Mustang that was operated by the RAAF on the fantastic ADF Serials website:  http://www.adf-serials.com.au/2a68c.htm

For more detailed information about VH-MFT 'Snifter' - as well as many photos and videos - and more information about joyflights - check out the Mustang Flights Australia website:  http://www.mustangflights.com/

Sincere thanks to 'IAD' and Travis for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great aircraft!

Photos taken by 'IAD' and Travis Whiting  ©

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