The warm, fresh, early morning air at Kissimmee airport is broken momentarily, by the sound of aircraft engines as they warm up and take off into the perfect central Florida blue sky. Birdsong dominates the silent gaps that emerge from the tidy hangar spaces and ramps that line the airport’s apron. Welcome to Crazy Horse’s gleaming stable, you are about to meet her face to face for the very first time. Treat her with respect, you won’t forget her, guaranteed.
As the hangar door glides back, the sunlight catches the flanks of the most perfect machine you will ever see. The birdsong suddenly seems louder, the rich Florida air smells crisper, pulses rise faster and your stomach quivers intensely. Everything instantly connects; those birds, the gleaming P51 Mustang and your quivering excitement, are about to share that beautiful Florida air with an unrivalled sense of authority; unlike anything else that’s on the ultimate bucket list.
Stallion 51‘s Crazy Horse is one of only a dozen dual cockpit, dual control Mustangs in the world. She will provide, without any doubt, the most exclusive indulgence that any adrenalin junkie could imagine. Those knotted nerves are about to take to the skies with a combination of aerodynamic violence and elegance that masks the potency of one of the USA’s most admired fighter. This is no joy ride. Complete novices are welcome, experts learn new skills, but this life changing aviation experience will change lives, no matter what.
With pre flight briefings, checks and safety well and truly covered, it’s time for the 2 man crew to strap in. If the excitement and anticipation back on the ramp in that early morning sun needed building on, the crisp delicious crack of the Merlin engine bursting into life in front of you will do the trick. Smiles all round, it just can’t be helped.
Even Lee Lauderback, your instructor and Stallion 51′s proprietor, will have to work hard not to show his smile. This is his mistress. He adores her and so will you.
Once in the air, the stick is yours. It is as simple as that. Yours. As one of the USA’s most respected aviators, Lee understands the magnetism of flight, and Stallion 51 is all about the experience being shared.
Back in that briefing room, you will have discussed flight plan options, so no surprises pulled by Lee. This isn’t an attraction or a ride, it is a carefully managed flight experience, aboard this pristine and meticulously maintained vintage warbird. You are in control throughout the vast majority of the 1 hour flight.
If you want straight and level, that’s what you get, but, rather like a racehorse in a paddock, this amazing Mustang deserves to be freed. If that’s what you want, you will be expertly guided through some of the Mustang’s most stunning manoeuvres. As you loop, roll and roar around those cobalt blue Orlando skies, your flight of a lifetime is recorded in full with audio as part of your thrilling experience.
Who is going to believe you flew a P-51 Mustang if you do not have the video to prove it?!
If this appeals to your spirit of adventure and you’ve deserved a significant birthday or Father’s Day gift, start those hints early, as this exclusive gallop in the saddle of Crazy Horse does not come cheaply. Orientation flights start at a couple thousand dollars but worth every penny!
One word of warning; be prepared for the end, this stunning beauty really will truly affect your soul. If this is a one-time encounter with Crazy Horse, don’t look back at her. Suck in any sign of tears as you rejoin your family in that briefing room, as they just won’t understand.
If however, like many others, you go back for more, this beauty will always be ready for another daring date. Stallion 51′s Crazy Horse really will change your life.
Kevin Maw is Editor of Total Orlando.