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North American P-51 Mustang


The P-51 was designed (as the NA-73) in 1940 at Britain's request. An in-line engine, the British preference, was specified as well as the British standard of eight machine guns. The prototype was constructed within a 120-day limit. It was one of the few aircraft types that were conceived after the start of World War II yet saw large-scale service in the war. In permitting North American to design a fighter for a foreign buyer, the US Army Air Corps stipulated that two examples of the production model should be supplied free of charge for evaluation. It was the Royal Air Force that bestowed the nickname "Mustang" on the type. The first version for the US was the A-36 Apache dive bomber that first flew in 1942. About 500 of these "near-Mustangs" were built and saw action in the Italian campaign and in India. In December 1943, P-51Bs first entered combat over Europe, powered by Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin engines. They provided high-altitude escort to B-17s and B-24s, and by war's end, P-51 pilots had destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air (nearly half of the US total destroyed) and an additional 4,131 on the ground, more than any other US fighter in Europe. Despite this showing, none of the top four Army Air Forces aces flew Mustangs. P-51s saw service in nearly every combat zone in the war; in the Pacific, they escorted B-29s to Japan from Iwo Jima.
At war's end, 5,541 Mustangs were on hand. Surplus machines were sold or given to Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, France, Indonesia, Israel, Sweden, Korea, Switzerland, and Italy. During the Korean War, F-51Ds (as they were redesignated in 1948) were used primarily for close support of ground forces until the type was withdrawn from combat in 1953.
Mustangs have been popular for many years on the unlimited racing circuit. In 1984, the Piper Enforcer, a turboprop design based on the P-51, was marketed to smaller air forces as a light attack aircraft although none was bought.

Look at "Flying in P-51D" (QuickTime movie, 2,4 MB) - sended from Dusan Neumann, U.S.A.

General characteristics P-51A
Primary function Long range fighter
Contractor North American Aviation Inc.
Power plant One Allison V-1710-81 engine
Thrust 1,125 HP 839 kW
Wingspan 37 ft 11.28 m
Length 32.25 ft 9.83 m
Height 12.2 ft 3.71 m
Wingarea 233 sq ft 21.65 sq m
Weight empty 6,855 lb 3,110 kg
max. 10,610 lb 4,812 kg
Speed 390 mph 628 km/h
Initial climb rate 2,600 ft/min 792 m/min
Ceiling 30,000ft 9,144 m
Range 450 miles 724 km
Crew One
Armament 4x 12,7mm machine gun
First flight October 26, 1940 (NA-73 -also referred to as NA-73X)
Date deployed 1943
General characteristics P-51D
Primary function Long range fighter
Power plant One Packard V-1650-7 (license-built Rolls-Royce Merlin) liquid-cooled V- 12 engine
Thrust 1,590 HP 1,186 kW
Wingspan 37 ft 11.28 m
Length 32.25 ft 9.83 m
Height 13.65 ft 4.16 m
Wingarea 235 sq ft 21.83 sq m
Weight empty 7,640 lb 3,466 kg
max. 12,110 lb 5,493 kg
Max. speed 437 mph 703 km/h
Initial climb rate 3,478 ft/min 1,060 m/min
Ceiling 42,000ft 12,800 m
Max. range 2,068 miles 3,328 km
Armament 6x 12.7mm machine gun MG53-2 (270 or 400 rounds each), 2x 454kg bombs or 2x external tank.
Crew One
Date deployed 1944
Cost $50,985
Number built 15,621 (all types)


Jirka Wagner

 

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Last updated 01.01.2017