Friday 29 September 2017

Papa 51 Thunder Mustang(s) of New Zealand

The next type to come along in 2005 was a pretty spectacular offering!  I have been working my way through all of our sport aircraft and most of them were 80 to 150 HP powered, but the Thunder Mustang was in a class of its own - a 601 cubic inch (9.85 litre) Falconer V 12 producing 640 HP in a 3,200 pound MAUW aircraft which gives original Mustang equalling performance up to 10,000 feet, and a faster rate of climb of up to 5,500 feet per minute!  It is a homebuilt, built from a kit and it is registered in New Zealand as an Amateur Built Aircraft.

The Thunder Mustang was the creation of Dan Denny (of the Denny Kitfox) who talked Ryan Falconer into producing an aircraft version of his Indy 500 V 12 racing engine to mate with the all carbon fibre airframe.  The fuselage is 3/4 scale of a full size Mustang with a slightly wider than scale cockpit, and the wings are 5/8 scale.  A total of 37 kits were produced before production ceased in 1999, but there have been recent moves to re-start production and also to produce a Long Nose Thunder Mustang with a 650 SHP turboprop engine.

Our Thunder Mustang was built in South Africa by F Jordaan and was first registered there as ZU-TMG on 29/4/04, and then it was exported to New Zealand.

It was registered here as ZK-TMG2 (c/n 018) on 23/2/05 to the Kiwi Thunder Group of Auckland, and it was assembled at Ardmore wher this photo was taken on 5/3/05.

Again at Ardmore, on 12/3/05 which was the date of its first flight I think.  The pilot is Brian Gault.

 At the 2010 SAANZ flyin at Tauranga, on 6/2/10, with different registration lettering.

It has worn several variations of sponsor's logos, above with Lucas Slick Mist logos at Wanaka on 6/4/12. This front quarter shot shows the quite small wingspan well.

And finally a shot showing the impressive all aluminium Falconer V 12 engine.

ZK-TMG2 has been advertised for sale for quite some time, but with no buyers to date.  I don't think it has flown much in recent times.

There is a nice You Tube video of ZK-TMG at Tokoroa at:


  1. It was out for a taxi (and what I assume was a tire-kicking) about a year ago. From memory it might of had a fight after on left Ardmore on the day this was taken?

    1. Hi Errol. I would say it has recovered from its "fight". It visited Classic Flyers at Tauranga on Fathers Day this year.

  2. It has flown a couple of times recently, but I think only one of the syndicate members is still 'current' in it.