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For one Glencoe fly-in visitor, WWII aircraft is an ‘obsession’

He was only a boy when the P-51 fighter was turning the tide in the Allies’ favor in the skies over Europe during World War II.
Larry Lund is so taken by the fighter plane, he decided to build one for himself. Lund’s plane is only a three-quarters size experimental version of the legendary aircraft. From a distance, Lund’s Titan T-51 aircraft looks just like a P-51 until you notice it’s size. He spent a decade building it. He modeled it after a P-51 he saw several years ago. He copies many of the features, right down to the word, “Obsession” on the nose of the aircraft. From the cockpit to the model 200-pound bombs beneath the wings, his airplane drew plenty of attention at Saturday’s fly-in at Glencoe Airport.
“The bombs are popular with the kids. They like seeing them,” he said. “When I don’t have them on, I can put drop-down (fuel) tanks on.”
The three-quarter-size replica P-51, manufactured by the Titan Aircraft is popular with history buffs because surviving P-51s are typically out of the price range of most amateur pilots.
Back in 1975, Lund and his brother, Gary, once found an authentic P-51 they wanted to purchase. Its sale price was $214,000. When they approached a banker for financing, their offer was declined.
“He laughed at us and told us to go home,” Lund said.
Years later, Lund found a more affordable option. The Titan Aircraft company’s kit made of aluminum was far more affordable. Lund said the plane he built is worth about $165,000. He spent a decade assembling it, working on it when his jobs at Bick Graphics and the Sleepy Eye airport permitted.
Lund’s aircraft doesn’t have the beef or speed of an original P-51. His plane cruises at 170 mph, about half the speed the P-51 flew at during combat missions. The P-51’s range allowed it to escort bombers into Germany.

Read the full story in the Sept. 5 edition of The Chronicle.