Gathering of Mustangs & Legends
In September 2007, a very special event took place at Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. For the second and final time, The Gathering of Mustangs & Legends was held, with this edition being more than double the size of the original Gathering in Kissimmee, Florida in April 1999. Seventy-seven Mustangs were part of the show, with P-51A 'Polar Bear' and three P-51C models complimenting the large number of D models in attendance. The Mustangs were joined by a wonderful collection of fighters and bombers from World War II that included the P-38, P-40, P-47, B-17 and Lancaster. The US Air Force contributed to the festivities with their air demonstration squadron Thunderbirds and three fighters, an F-15C, F-16 and F-22, to fly in formation with various combinations of Mustangs.
Even more impressive than the list of aircraft was the group of twelve Legends at the show. David 'Tex' Hill was a member of the 'Flying Tigers' in Burma in 1941, and is credited with over eighteen victories in the air. Lee Archer was one of the original members of the 332nd Fighter Group, known as the Tuskegee Airmen and with five aerial victories was their only ace. Clarence 'Bud' Anderson visits many aviation events during the show season so it was no surprise he joined the Gathering in Columbus. Bud was a triple ace during the war and his familiar 'Old Crow' nose art was worn by a P-51D in attendance. Finally, one of the most recognizable pilots across many disciplines is Bob Hoover. In 1944, Bob's Spitfire was shot down over France and he became a prisoner of the Germans, but after sixteen months he managed to escape then stole a German Fw-190 and flew it to freedom. He was also the backup pilot on the historic Bell X-1 supersonic flight and in later years would become synonymous at air shows performing aerobatics in a Strike Commander. Bob's famous yellow P-51 'Ole Yeller' was also one of the seventy-seven Mustangs at Rickenbacker.