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The P-51 had a cousin

Squint a bit and you might see some shapes in this post war four seat tourer which sort of remind you of the legendary P-51 Mustang. Spoiler alert, if you don't know what a P-51 Mustang is then come to the Airshow, we very may well have one or two*.

After the war North American decided that they needed to build an aircraft other than the P-51. Custom for that icon had rather dried up after the end of hostilities. North American thought that returning pilots, used to the P-51 and the plethora of other all metal warbirds they'd flown would want to keep flying. They thought there'd be a boom in private aviation and wanted to make the most of it.

They developed a more than admirable machine, with plenty of shared DNA with the P-51. Shame was the boom they'd predicted didn't occur.

Still, the US military ordered several hundred, used across the military for uses such as forward air control and casualty extraction.

Along the way, the Navion became a product of Ryan Aviation after North American sold the design. Various other changes of ownership took place after that; but commercial issues couldn't mask the fact that the Navion was a really very good aircraft, from impeccable stock.

Many survive today and there have been efforts to put them back into production.

We're not only delighted to have the first Navion at Old Buckenham for ages; we'd also like to bid a warm welcome to its pilot and owner, Simon Tilling. Simon's a very important man, he's the new CEO of the Light Aircraft Association. He's therefore in charge of the Association which is in charge of more aircraft in the UK than anyone else, 2700 of them at the moment and of all shapes and sizes, mostly built at home and making up the vast majority of General Aviation.


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