Ford designs an Apollo edition Mustang to help young aviators reach new heights
By Kristin Rattini
When man first set foot on the moon, the impossible became reality. Just a few days later Apollo 11 landed safely back on Earth: Mission accomplished. These moments are what Ford used as inspiration for its 2015 “Flying Pony,” a special edition flight-inspired Mustang that the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) recently auctioned off to benefit its youth education programs.
The program has been under way for eight years, and this year Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt and his team decided to go out of this world: The team supercharged a 2015 Mustang GT with a 627-horsepower, 540 lb.-ft. torque engine to emulate a rocket’s power and gave it the trademark Apollo color scheme of white, red and black with amber LED underbody lights that recall a rocket’s glow during re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere. “The driver truly has the sensation of being a part of the Apollo era,” Betancourt says.
The program has raised more than $3 million for EAA’s youth aviation programs, particularly the Young Eagles. Free introductory flights have been provided to nearly 2 million young people. “It gives me great pleasure to use my skills to pay it forward,” Betancourt says, “and to create something with Ford that will give an opportunity to aspiring pilots, scientists and engineers who wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to get there.”