The Storm was built by the Ultra-Flite Laboratories in 1957 as a test plane to be flown by rodent pilots, hence it is a scaled-down replica. Its first and only test pilot was Jefferson van Zant to whom it was given as his personal plane several years later. After his death in a plane crash in 1969, it stayed with his son Franklin who didn't have any use for it, not being an aviator himself, but left it untouched. Seemingly, even the Ultra-Flite Laboratories lost track of it.
In spring 2006, Midnight who had just met Jefferson's granddaughter Dawn found it in a rather deteriorated but still airworthy state, stashed away under a blanket in the same hangar next to the van Zant's place. It wasn't until December, however, that he flew it for the first time in almost four decades.
The damages caused by the long time of remaining unused got the better of The Storm when it broke down during an approach on Rescue Rangers Headquarters the same month. Subsequently, the Hackwrench sisters Gadget and LaWahini restored it to and partly even beyond its former glory; Gadget also applied a few technical improvements.
Still today, The Storm remains Ultra-Flite's most powerful and fastest propeller-powered aircraft. Geegaw Hackwrench, long-time friend of Jefferson's and considered the best rodent aviator of all times, always refused and still refuses to pilot it.
Being a scaled-down look-alike rather than a remade production craft, The Storm doesn't have much in common internally with a regular Mustang. The fuselage has the same famous shape. Cockpit and canopy have been kept a bit smaller than normal like those of today's raceplanes originally, they have been slightly enlarged in 2006 when a second seat was installed. The area behind the cockpit serves as a compartment for baggage or for mounting a stretcher; for the latter use, the separation wall to the cockpit as well as the additional seat can be removed. Even with the long lid on top of this compartment which is hinged on the right and goes back almost all the way to the rudders, Ultra-Flite managed to make the U-shaped tail structure remarkably rigid.
More differences can be found on the wings. The Storm was never intended to be a warbird, so there are no mounts for guns inside the wings. Instead, there is one "headlight" in each wing. There are also attachment points for wing-mounted tanks which cannot be used as drop tanks, i.e. detached and dropped in mid-flight since Ultra-Flite only ever made two.
The power plant is still a supercharged V-12 engine similar to a Packard (Rolls-Royce) Merlin. Since the 2006 repairs, the supercharger can be engaged in a Mad Max-like fashion with a red switch attached to the throttle, so when the increased power isn't needed, it can be turned off to reduce engine wear and fuel consumption. With the supercharger running, the engine is powerful enough to enable The Storm to climb vertically with no danger of stalling.
As for its outward appearance, The Storm has always been black all over, including the propeller, but excluding the stubby exhaust pipes. The only exception is its name. Between the canopy and the wings, "STORM" is written in highly compressed letters with "THE" in much smaller, highly extended letters above. All letters are white.
List of modifications applied in 2006
- Complete repaint in glossy black (hence the nickname "Flying Grand Piano") with a water-repelling wax coating
- Chrome-plated exhaust pipes
- Passenger seat
- Enlarged cockpit and new canopy with matching size
- Partly restyled cockpit facilities; yoke and throttle handle made of stainless steel and wood in a knife handle-like style
- Headlights converted to bright white LEDs
- Engine tune-up
- Supercharger switch on the throttle