Flying is the second most thrill known to mankind -
Landing is the first.
Polar Bear, a P-51-A, serial number 43-6006, was built by North American at Inglewood, CA, for the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC). The aircraft was accepted by the AAC at Mines Field (now LAX) on April 3, 1943. On that same day the aircraft left Los Angeles for Ladd Army Airfield, Alaska, with stops at Long Beach, Hill Filed, Gore Field, and Edmonton, Canada, arriving at Ladd on May 1st, 1943.
On February 18th, 1944, with only 43 hours total time, the aircraft crashed near Summit, Alaska, in heavy snow on a VFR flight plan. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Edward W. Getter, was killed. The aircraft remained on that mountain, exposed to the weather and occasional visits by local hunters, who scribed their names on the engine valve covers.
In the fall of 1977, more than 30 years after the crash, determined Waldon “Moon” Spillers, with the help of two friends, removed the wreckage from the side of the mountain, too steep for helicopters. The aircraft remains were shipped to Ohio, where Spillers rebuilt the plane. After Spillers worked on it almost every day, Polar Bear flew again on July 3, 1985.
In the spring of 1995, with just more than 100 hours flying time since rebuild, the aircraft was sold to it’s current owner, Jerry Gabe, who lives in Hollister, CA. A 12-cylinder Allison V1710 engine and Curtis Electric 3-blade propeller power the aircraft.