Steve Larmore is known as “Mad Dog” in the aviation world. After successfully completing 2000 hours in the Mustang he should change his handle to “Lucky Dog”.
It is not actually known where the handle Mad Dog comes from but somewhere along Steve’s 16,000 hours plus of flying he was given the name and it has stuck. Steve started his flying career while in High School in Laurel Delaware drawing airplanes when he should have been paying attention in class. He lived near Salisbury Airport and worked on the field doing what ever he could to be close to airplanes. By 17, he had his private pilot license and actually took his check ride with John Reed, a WWII pilot who flew over “The Hump”. From that auspicious starting point, he had no idea where airplanes would take him but assumed he would be an airline pilot one day. Lucky for the warbird world, airliners aren’t tail-draggers!
Steve flew what ever he could, eventually buying a C140 while working as a line guy at the Salisbury airport working his way up to his A&P and eventually IA. His mechanical qualifications afforded him access to aviation opportunities and making him vary desirable to “Flying Circus” operations that traveled around small town America towing gliders and giving rides in tail draggers. He eventually accrued 4000 hours flying gliders not just towing them.
The real big iron time started adding up when Steve started flying Texans for Top Gun and Warbird Rides of America, flying from town to town offering rides, racking up 4000 hours in the T-6. In 1997, Steve earned his CFI rating at the request of a pilot who needed to learn how to fly his T-6 so he could transition into his P-51 Mustang, certainly a foreshadowing of things to come. Steve’s path was laid out even if he did not see it.
For the next several years, Steve racked up time doing what he loved, flying the Texan and teaching people the art of flying in “The Pilot Maker” . By 2005, Steve had racked up 12000 hours total time much of which was in the Texan. After many years on the road, Steve started working a “stay in one place” job as a T-6 Mechanic for Stallion 51 Maintenance. Also at that time, Stallion 51 had a Texan they used for training as the “gateway warbird” to transition into the Mustang. Steve’s experience made him perfect for both jobs.
In 2008, Steve made the big leap to flying and instructing in the P-51 Mustang for Stallion 51 Flight Ops. With thousands of hours in the T-6, the “Pilot Maker” in WWII and still today, the transition to Stallion 51’s Crazy Horses was as smooth as a good wheel landing. It was at this moment that Steve realized he had been training to fly the Mustang his whole life.
Since 2008, Steve has been sharing the cockpit with young and old, new pilots and experienced pilots and even non-pilots during Mustang orientation flights. Steve also instructs pilots in Stallion 51’s comprehensive Check-out Training Program that prepares qualified pilots to solo
their own Mustang. 2000 hours adds up fast when sharing the cockpit with hundreds of Mustang Check-out or recurrent training pilots as well as the thousands of people who come to experience the Mustang for them selves during a hands-on flight.
Looking back on his decades of flying, Steve wraps it all up with; “it was obvious where I was going but it took me a while to get there!” Stallion 51 is glad that the “there” is with them.