Florida resident launches Naval career at Stallion 51

Kris Riel- Future Naval Aviator

Stallion 51’s Mustang assistant crew chief Kris Riel was recently sworn into the US Navy by AvDoc 51’s Dr. W.T. Busch. Dr. Busch is a retired Navy captain who was a Naval Aviator and flight surgeon from 1976 through 2005 before joining Stallion 51 as Senior FAA Medical Examiner.

Kris will continue on at Stallion 51 until he reports to Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., on Oct. 12 for his 12-week training program before reporting to Pensacola Naval Air Station for flight training.

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Mercy Flight Southeast and Stallion 51 pick raffle winner

Stallion's Crazy Horse Low Pass

Stallion 51 teamed up with Mercy Flight Southeast to raise funds for the volunteer pilot organization by raffling a flight in Stallion 51’s Mustang. Hundreds of people from all over the country bought tickets hoping to win a hands-on orientation flight. The winner was announced at SUN ’n FUN. Angel Flight South Central Volunteer Pilot Jim Penn from Fort Worth, Texas, was that lucky winner.

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Stallion 51 celebrates silver anniversary

Stallion's Crazy Horse Low Pass

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.

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