It takes a lot money – and a lot of rivets — to rebuild a P-51 Mustang.
The Red Tail Project, a Minnesota-based not-for-profit organization that is rebuilding a rare P-51 flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, has kicked off a new campaign to raise funds for the project.
The campaign is called Sponsor-A-Rivet. For a $30 donation, donors sponsor a rivet in the airplane. Each donor receives a certificate autographed by a Tuskegee Airman.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American squadron to fly combat in World War II. They flew fighter escort in P-51 Mustangs that had distinctive red tails.
“The Sponsor-A-Rivet campaign is based on the war bonds concept,” says LaVone Week of the Red Tail Project. “For a donation of $30 you can help this piece of aviation history return to airworthy status. $30 may not sound like it could put a dent in the millions that are required to rebuild the aircraft until you consider that there are thousands and thousands of rivets in an airplane.”
Volunteers from the Minnesota wing of the Commemorative Air Force are overseeing the restoration. The P-51 under restoration was damaged in a 2004 crash that took the life of pilot Don Hinz, who was the leader of the Red Tail Project.
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