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Marvelous Mustangs – Pilots of the 78th FG Trade in their P-47s for P-51s—And Love Them!

Resplendent in 78th Fighter Group colors, the Fagen Fighters WW II Museum’s P-51D hugs the camera ship with Brian Smith behind the stick. (Photo by John Dibbs/
In early December of 1944, most of the pilots in the 78th Fighter Group, especially those with over 25 combat missions under their belts, felt “fat and sassy” flying the reliable and hard-hitting P-47 Thunderbolt. Seasoned pilots realized early on that the “Jug” was like a flying tank: one that could deliver deadly punishment to the enemy and absorb most anything thrown at it. Whether flying a bomber escort, dive-bombing a bridge or strafing an...


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All the stories featured in Flight Journal are as unique and varied as the airplanes and warriors who flew them. From popular warbirds like the P-51 Mustang and Me 109 to the Lockheed SR-71 and futuristic hypersonic fighters, we cover the whole spectrum of aviation. We’ve heard from countless readers over the years about how much they enjoy the compelling stories and beautiful photography.

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