Portland Airport, Maine – May 17, 1949
On the afternoon of May 17, 1949, an F-51D Aircraft, (#45-1164A), piloted by a USAF 1st Lieutenant took off from Grenier Air Force Base for a routine training flight. While at 20,000 feet, his aircraft began to experience engine problems by backfiring and cutting out. Checking his instruments, all appeared to be reading normal, but the problem persisted, so he declared an emergency and began heading for Portland Airport which was the closest to his position. Just before turning for his final approach, engine coolant suddenly spewed all over his windshield cutting visibility and causing a further loss of power to the engine. When he landed on the runway he discovered that the aircraft wasn’t going top stop before reaching the end, so he retracted the landing gear and allowed the P-51 to skid to a stop on its belly. Although the aircraft was damaged, the pilot was unhurt.
F-51 was the air force designation given to the P-51 used by the Army Air Force during WWII.
Source: Air Force Accident Investigation Report, #49-5-17-2