I know 104 has been covered before....but the photo is of George Enhorning's Passion Wagon. George died in a crash of this airplane, and it was bought and restored again by Bill Speer as Race #56 Deja Vu. Bill was killed in another crash of this same plane at Reno in 1994.
This P-51 was out of Oxford,CT in the 70`s or early 80`s. I have pictures taken at Robertson Airport Plainville,CT of this aircraft.I do not know the owners name at this time.
Wiliam D. Yoak
The Mustang in question is Passion Wagon which was owned by George Enhorning in the late 1970's. Enhorning was also the owner of an F8F-2 Bearcat for some time subsequent to the time he purchased the P-51. However, I am not certain as to the present owner and current paint scheme of this aircraft.
This is N51U, 44-74204 owned by George Enhorning. It crashed and was destroyed, killing Enhorning and a USAF General, riding in the back seat, on 29 Sep 1990.
George had rebuilt that Mustang from the wheels up, with a 2,000 hp racing engine. He kept it at Chatham Airport, Cape Cod, MA. According to airport employees, the aircraft suffered a gearbox failure while giving a ride to a retired USAF Brig. Gen. who was working for the Rand Corp. He had won a 15 min. intro flight at the local golf course club. George was on base leg when the malfunction occurred. By a remarkable feat of airmanship he crashed it into a stand of trees between a row of houses. There wasn't much left besides the engine and a piece of fuselage.
I met George Enhorning during his envolvement with the New England Air Museum. He stored Passion Wagon with the museum during the winter one year that I remember. I talked to him about his Bearcat and Mustang. He didn't enjoy the Bearcat as much as Passion Wagon. He said you fly the Mustang all day and get out and go to a business meeting clean and dry. The Bearcat was dirty to fly, you would leave the plane dirty with exhaust stains. He sold the Bearcat shortly after my conversation. He was a very nice gentleman and spared no expense with his maintenance of Passion Wagon. It was a great looking Mustang.
Considering that I have pieces of the wreckage, there's no way that this was restored and flown again. There was nothing left of the crash, it pretty much disintegrated when it struck all of the trees.
That was a fun plane to watch. I would spend time down in the airport parking lot, hoping he would fly. The day of the crash was a Saturday, I was working out at Eastward point. Saw them flying around, a roll, then a sudden silence. Thought they had landed, sadly it was much worse.
I lived "over the hill" from the Oxford Airport and stopped by periodically to see what was there. This was back in the days where you could just ask the people there "okay if I go take some pictures of the Mustang" and they'd let you out there. Now there's fences all over the place. I was there one time when George took off, I went to leave right after he left and one of the airport guys told me to wait a minute. And the Passion Wagon came back over the airfield at a couple hundred feet, never forget it.
My family lived around the corner from George Enhorning's place during summers growing up on Cape Cod. If you wanted to see him and his P-51 in action, the place to be was any Nantucket Sound beach in Harwich. The coolest thing in the world as a young kid was to hear him/it come roaring up the coast and make a low pass right over you. The noise used to drive my mother whereas my father and I thought it was about the coolest thing imagineable. The loss of both him, his passenger, and the aircraft in 1990 was truly tragic.
You might just say i was the luckiest kid in aviation history.I worked at the Chatham airport for a couple of years part time.I used to talk to George Enhorning almost every time he flew into Chatham.Then one clear summer day in 1986 peter (the head A+P mechanic)came up to me and asked me, George wants to know if you want to go for a ride with him in the p-51 to the Fitchburge airshow.My jaw dropped,15yrs, old at the time I,m 37 now and still get goosebumps thinking about that ride,high speed runway passes, barrel roles, and 15' off the water (INVERTED)!!! off Nauset beach. I am glad to see so many of us have not forgotten about what a great man + pilot George Enhorning was. To me N51U will always be the (PASSION wagon)
I was a young A&P mechanic at Chatham Airport were George use to visit in the summer months with this magnificent aircraft.One summer day George asked me if I would like to go up with him.Of coarse I did.I will never forget the feeling of the tail coming up and then the wheels breaking ground.George use to stay in ground effect until the end of the runway and then yank her almost vertical.We went off chasing clouds as he called it and doing a straffing run on the old target ship off the Cape shore.I remember George coming over the intercom with the sound of gun fire.The flight came to an end with a pass over the field with a high "G" turn to view the windsock [Chatham is a Unicom field]. On final the sound of that big Rolls Royce popping out the short stacks was amazing. I have been in Aviation for 23 years now and that was still the best day I ever had. George was a great person and pilot. Thanks for the ride.
The artwork on the "original" Passion Wagon was done by a friend for more than 40 years, Bob Child.I have a photo of the plane with Bob's notes, "This was the first gal I painted, underneath the exhausts stacks were the words "Passion Wagon." I also have a photo of Weaver's second P-51 that Bob painted. Sadly, Bob passed away a few years ago.
We lived next door to Mr Enhorning growing up at Hitchcock lake in Wolcott Connecticut. Many summer afternoons he would "surprise" us with a free air acrobatic show over the water.
Harold D. Weekley
I flew the '51 in 1979 at Bridgeport with George, stayed at his house and checked him out in the B-17. I flew with him many times at Oshkosh, during the airshows,spent a lot of time with him and miss him very much. I flew the B-17 until I turned 80.George was a great friend!! I was supposed to race the Bearcat at Reno but it never came to pass. BLUE SKIES TO YOU ALL!!!
Wow...I googled this today and what memories! We have been to Chatham summers since 1954 and in the '80's used to catch the Passion Wagon coming in low from the sound over Ridgevale Beach on the approach to the airport. Used to go to the airport a lot to catch the different A/C types...one gentleman gave me a tour of his Fokker triplane (new build). I have a nice pic of the PW taken when my son was 3 yo with me (1986) if anyone wants a copy. In 1995, B-17, B-24, etc visited Chatham flying low from Monomoy Island over the beach then circling the airport. One never knows what they can see at a small airport. Thanks for the stories..I still think about the man and the plane. Best, Mike Sullivan
When I was in kindergarten in the early 70's, my class went on a field trip to Oxford Airport, and I remember seeing a Mustang come out of a hangar and taxi. So sad to hear that it crashed and killed 2 people. What a magnificent airplane.
I remember watching George and the Passion wagon doing barrel rolls at an airshow at Meriden Markham Airport in Connecticut only months before the plane crashed with retired General Moon Mullins in the back seat in late 1990. The P-51 was parked right in front Of Me and my family, and I was able to get a few good shots with My Film camera. I got to know George briefly, as I would often see him at the Oxford Airport. He always had a few minutes to talk to just about anyone. He is missed by all who knew him.
I vacationed at the Cape several times over the past 25 years. Once, my wife, young son and I were on Nauset Beach, and this P-51 comes roaring up the coastline just a few hundred feet off the ground for a terrific surprise show. To top it off, I recognized the plane as a P-51 because it was the first model plane kit I ever assembled as a kid. I was sorry to read about the accident. We visited Chatham Airport many times when we stayed in nearby West Chatham. The airport restaurant was a local favorite for breakfast. Once, the three of us went up in a small single engine job for a great tour of the Cape. I believe the pilot on that tour was the fellow who ran the airport at the time along with his wife. I think he also flew commercial airliners. He was such a good pilot that I hardly felt the landing. My young son was thrilled to take the controls for a while. On my last trip in 2008 I managed to see some interesting planes parked on the field at the Cape Cod Airport in Marston Mills.
Growing up, I spent many summer vacation in Chatham and Harwichport. I remember hearing, then seeing Mr. Enhorning zooming around in the Passion Wagon. The sound and the way you could feel it as well as hear it was amazing.I was so glad to finally meet him one day in 1990 while hanging around at the airport. Little did I know he'd be gone within a couple of weeks.Blue skies.
Never met George however did see the passion Wagon resting at the Chatham Airport on many occasions. Just a beautiful machine . It looked fast just standing still. I worked at the beach club of the former Belmont Hotel in Harwich and would frequently see George gunning up the shore line at various altitudes all incredible low. Never will I forget the sight of that craft splitting the air nor the sound of that roaring engine . The topping on the cake was on several occasions he responded to my pumping fists with a salute of his own . A simple tipping of the wings!
I spent every summer in Harwich Port growing up. Mr. Enhorning lived in the same neighborhood as my grandparents. You knew it was summer when you heard the roaring of the engine overhead. I loved that sound and I loved that airplane. He would fly in very low over the neighborhood and buzz the Neel Rd. beach. My grandfather some how arranged for the Chatham ATC to call us if he was flying in or leaving. Spent many summer days at the Chatham airport watching that plane.
George was a great guy and gave me a ride in the Passion Wagon back in the early 80's! I worked at the FBO at OXC. I used to love the task of washing and waxing the P-51. I remember my ride, George pulled onto runway 18 at OXC powered up and for a moment I was disappointed withe the acceleration. Then I was pinned in my seat. George did his classic accelerate at 30' over the runway then pull up and roll it. We went over a lake at 5000' did a split S buzzed the lake at 50' and more than 400 kts. I was actually fueling the P 51 when I got the call to bring my wife to the hospital the day my son, Adam, was born.
I also worked at Oxford airport in the maintenance department back in the late 80's. The FBO was Keystone Aviation. I have photos of this plane sitting at OXC, it was everyone's favorite!
I was a young airport bum teen back in the late 70's when George would fly Passion Wagon into Meriden Markham Airport every now and then. I remember him wearing Converse sneakers with his flight suit. One day I asked him why and he said once he got the heel of one of his shoes fouled in one of the mustang's rudder pedals so no more flying with shoes with heels! George was a really nice guy and approachable. While admiring Passion Wagon in front of the fuel pumps one day he walked around to the fuselage storage compartment, popped it open and handed me a photo album to look at! A true gentleman.
I lived on Hitchcock Lake, Wolcott where George lived. My parents knew George and were always fond of him. We all use to visit when we were young. I remember being outside playing and then, out in the distance, I would hear the faint roar of the Mustang, long before anyone else. I would yell to anyone who would listen, "come here, just wait" and suddenly, George would dive bomb the lake and barrel roll up and out of sight in the blink of an eye. I really miss that. I use to say, "The Harley in the Sky". I will never forget those times.
My dad and father in law worked on that plane with George. We had parts on our dining room table for weeks. His death was a terrible loss.
I lived across the street from Mr. Enhorning and went through middle school hanging with his stepson Dave. Use to ride his snowmobile around his house in the winter, play in his game room , and watch his air show every time he came over the lake. He would tilt his wings and we could see him wave to us, probably a little too close to the ground but a thrill to see as a young boy; memories I will never forget. A true gentleman.
It is gratifying to see so many great comments about George Enhorning and his beloved Mustang. My dad worked for Mr. Enhorning at Bruce Mfg. as a toolmaker and truly loved this jovial man. I think George appreciated my dad as well, maybe because he knew Dad was a Marine in WWII and served at Guatalcanal. Dad told me how George buzzed the plant one day, and I think it was just after he repowered it with the Rolls Royce engine. Dad wasn't much of an aircraft enthusiast, but he loved big engines and took me over to Oxford to see it. We were devastated when he was killed. I don't think the plant survived long after that.
Around the mid eighties I had the opportunity to fly with George. Nothing like that experience. He would fly the P-51 to Florida during the winter months. While at the Orlando Executive FBO I had that once in a lifetime chance to climb into that dual control cockpit with George. I was married at the time and my in-laws were the kind that lived their lives at the mercy of the great WarBirds. I witnessed a few.... P-40 was amazing but the P-51 was different... firing up a P-51 engine at dusk to watch the stacks lighting up in succession.
I was a 22 year old girl whose knowledge of WarBirds could fit into a thimble and I was forever changed by that flight. From the beginning as George prepared for take off, his conversation with the tower set the tone for the rest of the flight. The tower did what they normally do and then put in their request for a fly-by. George said something in return to air traffic control that told me we were about to buzz the tower. We did just that, I can't say for certain but I thought I heard the air traffic controllers voice crack as if he was holding back emotions when he thanked George for the aeronautical nod.
My flight was a ride that unfortunately I would not fully appreciate till later. The G-force pulls, the barrel rolls the dives the assents.... none fully appreciated till another date and time. My recollection of George Enhorning was a kind, unassuming man that loved and respected flying. His calm demeanor left me unafraid of every twist and turn and the moments of such force that I could not lift my hand from my lap. His wit as he flipped me and turned me and twisted me had me laughing like a little kid. After a flight like that your life has changed, one I will never forget.
Hearing that George had crashed Passion Wagon was empty news. Made my heart feel empty. These days as I get older and I witness grandparents, parents and friends struggle at the end of their lives I think about George Enhorning and while sad he left this earth far too early, his life ended flying in the most bad-ass propeller driven aircraft and if reports are right, he was able to control the crash away from homes in an attempt to save other lives. My condolences to the loved ones of George Enhorning and the USAF Brig. General that was on board that fateful day.
George was like a Father to me Yes he could Fly like a bird and we did almost every weekend but this was long before the Passion Wagon it was in His twin engine Baron is where the Barrel Rolls first Started, his Love of Flying was never ending and if you look up you know hes up there somewhere Chasing Clouds.
George gave me a ride one day after I refueled his plane. Was working at Chatham while learning to fly. This was in the 1984. So sad to hear if his death.
I just stumbled over this site. So very cool to see how many people still remember such a great man and a great plane. I was fortunate enough to have spent most of my younger life around George and his family as I was best friends with his step son. A great man, a very smart businessman, an awesome provider and a hell of a person to call a friend. I'll never forget the airshows cleaning his planes, the rides in those planes and the cool parties with the War Birds where we used to sneak beers when no one was looking. And what a pilot. He always said that when he goes it would be in that plane. Miss ya George and thanks for everything you did for me and your family. You were a great man, friend and mentor!
I was a neighbor of George and his family in Wolcott, CT. My parents knew George and his wife. Us kids all knew each other. We lived on Hitchcock Lake and I remember as a small kid, the distant distinct rumble of that Rolls engine and I knew it was George coming in over the lake. He would make a couple low passes at what seemed like full throttle. Then his last pass was a dive and barrel roll clean out of sight. I called it the Harley in the sky!! RIP George.
I was a helicopter pilot for Simplex Time Recorder and was at Chatham airport and witnessed that last flight of The Passion wagon. George came in at about 800' below an overcast and
as he broke left downwind the p 51
Continued the roll upside down into the trees.
Later I was told the propeller shaft had broken..
I guess the accident report did not show this.
This was a sad day for me to witness this Event..
Dom Possemato LTC Ret
A bud of mine at OXC (where George kept Passion Wagon on a regular basis) called me up and asked if I would like to give him a biennial review. Of course it was a no brainer.
He was very meticulous on the brief, predeparture prep, flight, and post flight. He did say he was staying with the AC and that he would loose the canopy so that I could bailout.
I went on to fly T-38 as an IP, A-10s in Europe and the US, and the A7. I can tell you that the ride in the Passion Wagon eclipsed all the others.
As a Capt for United and flown most all of our equipment..... that ride made me strive to become a fighter pilot.
RIP George.... a very humble human being and an excellent pilot.
Growing up I spent most of my summers in West Chatham on Schoolhouse Pond. The pond was right around the corner from the Chatham Municipal Airport. It was always exciting when the Passion Wagon was in town during the summer. I could tell the distinctive sound of that engine starting up from blocks away. It was a happy time if you got to see him fly. I was sad when my Dad told me about the crash, but what a way to go for both of those gentlemen - each with their own connections to the sky.
My father, William R. Brafford Jr, was the crew chief on this aircraft when it was with the NC Air National Guard. I had the pleasure of giving Bill Speers a military picture of the aircraft while attending a P-51 Fly In in California in the early 1990's. Does anyone know what became of the wreckage after the Reno Crash? I know that the cage was damaged but the scrap must be somewhere and I would love to locate it. My father is dead now but any help would be greatly appreciated.