The North American P-51 Mustang
P-51 Who?   Case # 62
45-11546     N51JW     Closed
Solved by: William Yoak, Mark Howard
P-51 Who 62
Case#: 62
Date: Aug 01 2000
Photo: unknown date at Reno
Status: Closed
Serial: 45-11546
Registry: N51JW
P-51 Who? Viewer Responses
Leo Smiley
08/11/2000 07:35
John Wright's N51JW " Philippine Mustang" raced at Reno as #20. He was a bronze class winner in 1979. As I remember the aircraft also undertook a trans-pacifc flight with huge underwing tanks, hence the name. Unfortunately the aircraft was completely destroyed, John Wright and his wife killed when a low level roll went bad after a southwest airshow in 1982 just before the Reno races.
Wiliam D. Yoak
08/11/2000 23:05
This aircraft was based in Reno,NV under the ownership of John Wright. Wright ferried it from the Philippines to Reno in September of 1971. It had been operated by the air force of the Philippines for several years and was owned by their government until Wright acquired it. He was a 747 Captain for Pan Am and a former U.S Air Force fighter pilot. Sadly, John and his wife--Barbara were killed in this Mustang a week before the Reno Air Races in 1982. They were doing a flyby over a parade in Elko, Nevada when Wright executed a roll at low level and struck a wingtip while inverted.
Mark Howard
08/31/2000 14:55
That is John Wright's P-51.
David Soom
11/10/2014 16:43
John had a co-owner in the Mustang that was accused of buzzing 2 young women resulting in their crashing in a car. A civil suit found him guilty. Can anyone remember this Co-Owners Name? He was a Reno Building contractor, I keep thinking Clyde..Something.
David Soom
David Soom
11/24/2014 13:35

John Wright's co-owner in the Mustang N51JW was Carl Barlow.

D. Soom
Sean Thompson
11/06/2017 18:15
I saw this crash first hand, John flew directly from Reno with his wife in the jump seat (no one knew it at the time though) and before they landed, they performed some acrobatic tricks and as they were flying south towards the Ruby Mountains, he was INVERTED right overhead of us as we were standing on the airport tarmac and only about 500 feet off the ground when he tried to flip back over before the hills and mountains ahead of him, when suddenly his wing dipped to the right and went straight down into the side of a hill upside down. I don't think he had enough height to maneuver the plane back into an upright position. There was a cloud of dust and the plane vanished. It happened so fast and is like it happened yesterday. We were all in shock and disbelief. The announcer that day was telling us the story about how John went to the Philippines to buy the plane he flew as a fighter pilot and brought it back to the states. No one at the time knew his wife was in the jump seat until they found her ring finger with a diamond on it in the debris. My father was working for the city of Elko at the time and went to the crash site where we had to stay in the car and we could see the pieces of the plane everywhere and the bent propeller and engine block but very else of the plane was any larger than the size of a basketball. It almost hit a home when it crashed but landed just to the side of it. Some piece from the plane pierced the home if I am not mistaken when it crashed but no one was hurt. There was a corsair named wart hog, a mustang from tired iron racing team, a b25 bomber owned by Don Davis, of Casper, Wyoming that was named "Bronco Bustin' Bomber". I think there was also a trainer plane called the wildcatter on the ground that day for the show. It was a great day until the plane crash. It left an indelible mark on me.... Sean Thompson
Sean Thompson
11/06/2017 18:29
The event was Sept. 11, 1982.
Case Closed!
P-51 Mustang

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