Thunderbird registered to Joe De Bona Racing Co. The company was a partnership between De Bona and James M. (Jimmy) Stewart.
Joe De Bona & Jimmy Stewart win the final Bendix Trophy Race. With De Bona piloting Thunderbird won the 2,008 mile (3,231.6 kilometers) race to Cleveland, Ohio in an elapsed time of 4:16:17.5, averaging 470.136 miles per hour.
James Stewart (Sole Owner, for Joe De Bona Racing Co.) sold Thunderbird to Jacqueline Cochran, for “$1.00 and other consideration.”
Jackie Cochran flies Thunderbird, to two Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Records and a U.S. National Aeronautic Association record, with an average speed of 703.275 kilometers per hour (436.995 miles per hour).
Jackie Cochran sold it back to Jimmy Stewart for “$1.00 and other consideration.”
The P-51 Pony Express is reborn – The Coronation of Elizabeth II was a major television event with CBS and NBC arranging to have footage of the ceremonies flown across the Atlantic to Newfoundland. From there the film would be flown on to the United States by Jimmy Stewart’s P-51 and another owned by Paul Mantz, NX1204. Thunderbird, piloted buy De Bona arrived 24 minutes before Mantz’s NX1204.
Jimmy Stewart sells Serial No. 2925 to Joe De Bona for $1.00 plus a $7,500.00 Chattel Mortgage. They now designated the aircraft a North American F-51C.
At AirCorps Aviation we have been blessed to work with great people and for great people over these eleven years. Supporters and mentors like Warren inspire you to do great things.
Thunderbird, with its record setting race history and ownership by movie stars and aviation icons, takes on a new history gracing the skies and inspiring new generations. As a ten year old Warren had a poster of Thunderbird above his bed falling asleep dreaming of flying it. Over thirty years of dedicated work culminating to seeing this aircraft restored.
Every restoration is marked by peaks and valleys, they humble, challenge, and fulfill you. As we continue to expand our restoration abilities and explore the idea of what makes a restoration excellent both Warren and the AirCorps team need to recognize the people, shops, institutions, and community that helped make this restoration possible.
|WARREN PIETSCH||JOLEEN PIETSCH|
|BRUCE EAMES||BERNIE VASQUEZ|
|CASEY ODEGAARD & FAMILY||GLENN WEGMAN|
|DUSTY DOWD||DAKOTA TERRITORY AIR MUSEUM|
|FAGEN FIGHTERS RESTORATION||GERRY & CINDY BECK|
|ODEGAARD WINGS||PAUL EHLEN|
|RANDY CARLSON||NUMEROUS SHOPS & EXPERTS|
Dakota Territory Air Museum is a museum unlike any you will find in the upper Midwest. The museum strives to honor the men, women and machines that have impacted our nation’s rich history of aviation. At DTAM you will find airworthy examples of the following warbirds.
|P-47D Thunderbolt “Bonnie”||P-40E Warhawk|
|P-51D Mustang “Little Horse”||Spitfire Mk. IXc “Half Stork”|
|P-51D Mustang “Miss Kitty III”||Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII|
|P-51D Mustang “Dakota Kid II”||FM-2 Wildcat|
|P-51C Mustang “Lope’s Hope 3rd”||Harvard Mk. IV|
|C-47/C-53 Skytrooper||+50 more historic aircraft|
AIRCORPS AVIATION DOES MUCH MORE THAN JUST RESTORE WWII AIRCRAFT!
Last year AirCorps Aviation was accepted into General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) as one of only 120 of the world’s leading manufacturers of general aviation airplanes and rotorcraft. Over the past ten years, we have continued our globally recognized WWII aircraft restoration work, while successfully developing a number of strategic investments in Build to Print fabrication, and Repair Station work.