One of the Reno Air Race Unlimited fan favorites, “Precious Metal,” a modified North American P-51 Mustang, will literally return from the ashes to fly again. The airplane caught fire as race pilot Thom Richard was ferrying the airplane to Reno for the races last year.
There were initially doubts regarding the feasibility of the restoration, but Richard announced on Facebook that the team has “decided to retain what’s left of the aircraft and begin the rebuild process.”
Richard praised U.S. Specialty Insurance Co. and Ladd Gardner Aviation, the insurance companies that covered “Precious Metal,” and said they had been “fair in their evaluation.”
There are, however, many hurdles to overcome before this beauty can return to the skies. “The damage is extensive, and even though everything can be rebuilt, we may need to acquire another airframe to expedite the rebuild process,” Richard said. The team also has not determined what the cost of the restoration will be.
Whether “Precious Metal” will ever return to Reno remains to be seen. But at least it appears that the precious airplane will fly again.
Story by Pia Bergqvist of Flying; photo by Bruce Croft via Flying