As Lee Lauderback taxied to the Warbird Ramp on opening day of this year’s SUN ’n FUN, a group of students immediately began pointing at his P-51 “Crazy Horse” and waving to him. He waved back with a big smile on his face. It’s a reaction he’s used to getting.
“Everybody recognizes the P-51,” he said. “It’s an amazing airplane.”
And even after 25 years of heading up Stallion 51, his company at Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM) in Florida that offers training and rides in the P-51, Lauderback is still that 10-year-old boy who saw Bob Hoover flying a P-51. “I thought, ‘wow, that is so cool,’” he remembered. “I am truly blessed to get to fly one every day.”
And he shares that blessing with his customers, who travel from all over the world for the chance to fly — not just ride — in a Mustang.