There’s something remarkable about a place that transcends time, brings together a passion for timeless beauty with an enduring legacy of pride and resilience. Stallion 51 in Kissimmee, Florida is just that kind of place.
Walk into their unassuming hangar, and if you’re even the slightest bit of a warbirds buff, you’ll stand in awe of the five beautiful North American Mustangs strategically placed. Each is a reflection of the owners, a shine that in the sun could blind you with the immaculate aluminum exterior that’s flawless. You can tell they are lovingly cared for and well maintained.
It’s a hangar, like any hangar sitting along a taxiway at an airport. Not inside though, it’s no ordinary hangar. The incredible Mustangs grace the interior. It has the cleanest hangar floors I’ve ever seen, no oil or gas dripping here. The reflection of the planes against the floor looks like a mirror.
I was in awe when my feet passed through the door and I stepped inside for the first time. The hangar door was open and the Florida sun was beaming rays of light that made them glow like precious gems in the warm light. They stood basking in it, and I think my jaw dropped as I carefully moved my eyes across each lovely plane.
Mad Max and that sexy tail was the first one I saw. He’s so striking and bright with the red glimmering against the shiny surface. In front of him sat, Slender, Tender and Tall. “If only I fit that bill,” is what crossed my mind looking at how stunning she was in the morning light.
In the center was Crazy Horse and Crazy Horse 2, similar but different. I love the blue nose, rich and dreamy colors. The D-Day invasion stripes are striking. One as shiny as they come, the other with the subtle finish. Each regal sitting there in all their glory.
In the back corner, not to be left out with her stunning yellow and black checkerboard nose is The Little Witch. She’s the brightest with all that color, and makes sure she gets your attention hiding back there. She won’t be left out.
All gorgeous, all amazing representations of another time, another place when life was simpler in some respects, but a time when power and strength mattered and beauty just happened to be a result. Timeless and enduring are captured as you glean a little bit of history while you encounter these glorious beasts with their Rolls Royce Merlin engines. A sound like no other when they take to the skies. I can only imagine what it was like to hear them moving across the skies during that time. What joy must have filled the air on one side, while they provoked fear in the hearts of others?
I was honored to be amongst such fabulous company this day in early spring. I was even more excited to have an opportunity to photograph them under these amazing conditions. The weather was perfect and the staff was wonderful.
If you want to take a ride, or even take the controls, you can do so in one of these magnificent beauties. If it’s not on your bucket list, it should be. What an amazing opportunity to get up close and personal with a little piece of history. I didn’t ride this time around, but I can assure you that I will soon.
I am inspired by people like the Lauderback’s that own Stallion51. They started small and took many years to build this place and its outstanding reputation. It helps remind us of the importance of preserving history, maintaining it for the future, inspiring the young and building a legacy for generations to come.