Ain’t Misbehavin’, owned by Wes Stowers and Billy Strickland

Ain’t Misbehavin’, owned by Wes Stowers and Billy Strickland

US Specialty Insurance Company

Our aircraft,s/n 44-74009, rolled out of North American Aviation’s Inglewood, CA factory in October, 1944. Operationally, it remained stateside with the U.S. Army Air Force and was later transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1945, where it served until 1957. Declared surplus, the Mustang was then auctioned into civilian hands.

The aircraft is now painted in the colors of the Mustang flown by Capt. Jesse Frey of Indianapolis, IN, who flew the real “Ain’t Misbehavin” in World War II. A flight leader in the 362nd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, Capt. Frey flew combat missions in 1944/1945 from Leiston, England, escorting 8th Air Force bombers over Germany. During his time in combat, Capt. Frey never aborted a mission and downed two enemy aircraft – an ME-109 and an FW-190. He credits his crew chief, SSgt Pat Buzzeo of New York, NY, for “Ain’t Misbehavin’s” exceptional reliability. The two men remain close friends to this day. The current owners first met Capt. Frey and some of his family at the 2007 Gathering of Mustangs and Legends. Although the owners had recently renamed the aircraft “Ain’t Misbehavin”, it was not painted anywhere close to the original. After seeing some of Capt. Frey’s pictures, the owners repainted the aircraft in 2010 to resemble the real Ain’t Misbehavin, including putting the names of Capt. Frey and SSgt Buzzeo on the aircraft. Both Capt. Frey and SSgt Buzzeo have since flown in this Mustang.

The aircraft’s civilian owners have been the following: James Defuria/Fred Ritts (1957-1960), Aero Enterprises (1960-1961), Suncoast Aviation (1961-1962), A Faskin (1962-1963), Houston Aircraft Sales (1963-1965), William Fiore (1965-1968), Frank Cannovo and Carmen DiOrio (1968-1969), Robert Shaver/Robert McMurray/John Nugent (1969-1975), Robert Shaver (1975-1979), Robert Ferguson (1979-2001), Bill McGrath (2001-2006), Evan Zeiger/Jim Thompson/Billy Strickland/Wes Stowers (2006-2010), Billy Strickland/Wes Stowers (2010-Present). The aircraft is based in Birmingham, AL.



Registration Number Date of Manufacture
N51KB 1944
Aircraft Role Nickname
Fighter Mustang
Aircraft Type: Wingspan:
North Amercian P-51D 37’0″
Overall length: Empty weight:
32’3″ 7,635 lb
Gross weight: Fuel capacity:
12,500 lb (operational) 489 gal(operational w/2×110 drops)184 gal today
Oil capacity Engine type:
21.2 gallons Rolls Royce Merlin V-1650-7 (operational) V-1650-9 today
Propeller type: Max Speed
Hamilton Standard Hydromatic 4-Bladed Prop (11’2″ diameter) 437 MPH (380 Knots) at 25,000′
Rate of Climb Cruise Speed
3,200 feet per minute 362 MPH (315 Knots)
Service Ceiling Number of Crew
41,900 feet 1 (today we have a jumpseat where the rear fuel tank used to be)
Armament Bomb Load
6 x 50 Caliber Machine guns 2 x 1,000 lb bombs or 10 x 5″ rockets
Number Built Number Surviving
8,156 P-51D’s (15,469 – all Mustang variants) Approximately (200 not all airworthy)



Ain't Misbehavin approaching Oshkosh in 2011 Capt. Jesse Frey and his crew in 1945 Capt. Jesse Frey after his flight in "Ain't MIsbehavin" on Oct 22, 2010


Previous owner Bob Ferguson had overseen major repairs to this Mustang (then named “Kat Bird”) in the mid-1990’s. By 2006, the plane had some corrosion issues and needed major repairs, including a complete rebuild of the vertical stabilizer and tailwheel assembly. After Mustang Partners, LLC (Evan Zeiger, Jim Thompson, Billy Strickland, and Wes Stowers) purchased this Mustang, they had it ferried to Stallion 51 in Kissimmee, FL, where Richard and Pete Lauderback spent five months putting the plane back to airworthy status. In 2008, the partners took the Mustang to Willow Run, MI for an overhauled Merlin engine from Roush Aviation. In 2010, International Jets in Gadsden, AL painted “Ain’t Misbehavin” in its current livery. Mark League of Birmingham, AL oversees the maintenance of the aircraft, with assistance on major repairs from Alan and Mark Henley.

Restoration Images

Restoration work at Sallion 51 Repainting by International Jet May-2012-Piston-Change



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