North American P-51D Mustang 44-72216 ‘Miss Helen” Robert TyrrellNick2020-04-25T16:09:11+00:00
North American P-51D Mustang 44-72216 ‘Miss Helen” | Robert Tyrrell
Duxford Battle of Britain 2019 practise
LOCATION: Goodwood Aerodrome
OWNER: Robert Tyrrell
LENGTH: 9.83 m32 ft 3 in
WINGSPAN: 11.28 m37 ft 0 in
ENGINE: Rolls Royce Packard Merlin V1650
MAXIMUM SPEED: 440 mph708 km/h
RANGE: 1,650 mi 2,656 km
P-51D Mustang “Miss Helen” was delivered to the US Army Air Force (USAAF) in 1945 where she saw active service in World War II with 352 Fighter Group (FG) ‘The Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney’, and has several confirmed kills to her name. She was flown by Capt. Raymond Littge as ‘Miss Helen’ and by later by Lt. Russell Ross as ‘Miss Nita’. Today wearing the same paint scheme as she did in 1945 and is the last original 352nd Fighter Group P-51 known to exist. 352 FG flew nearly 60,000 combat hours in just 19 months of WWII, claiming 519 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air, 287 on the ground and produced 26 aces for losses of 118 aircraft. Her full name is ‘P-51D-20NA 44-72216’ and when she was delivered to Capt. Littge he already had a kill tally of 10.5, including an Me 262.
It’s uncertain exactly how many missions Littge flew in Miss Helen but it’s known for sure that he flew her on a mission escorting B-17 bombers to the marshalling yards in Dresden on April 17th 1945, along with another 51 Mustangs. They came across an airfield at Platting with about 70 parked aircraft and Littge made an astonishing seven passes, destroying three Me 109s and 2 Me262s on the ground, despite having been hit in the initial attack on enemy flak positions which nearly emptied his oil tank.
She’s passed through several hands since the War, including those of the Royal Swedish Air Force and Israeli Air Force, starred in the Hollywood film Memphis Belle, and is now owned by Robert Tyrrell and based at the Boultbee Flight Academy at Goodwood Aerodrome