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North American P-51D Mustang

History of the P-51D Mustang

At Great Britain’s request in 1940, the P-51 was initially designed similar to the NA-73 aircraft and was rolled out in September and first flew in October of that same year. With the addition of the more powerful British Rolls Royce Merlin engine, the re-designated P-51D entered service in 1943. The P-51 was used by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) later rnamed as the Air Force, Royal Air Force and Chinese National Air Force. These aircraft escorted bombers into Germany. During World War II, Mustang pilots claimed to have destroyed over 4,900 enemy aircraft.

The P-51 also served during the Korean War, providing close air support for ground forces. The P-51 remained in service for some air forces until the early 1980s. There were over 15,000 P-51s built.

North American P-51D Mustang

Serial Number: 44-13371

Manufacturer: North American Aviation

Crew: One

Engines: One Rolls Royce (Packard) Merlin V-1650-7; 1,720 horsepower

Wingspan: 37 feet 5/16 inches

Length: 32 feet 3 5/16 inches

Height: 8 feet 8 inches

Weight: 6,585 pounds (empty); 11,054 pounds (maximum)

Speed: 437 mph at 25,000 feet (maximum)

Range: 1,000 miles with 2 drop tanks (combat); 1,600 miles (ferry)

Service Ceiling: 42,000 feet

Armament: Six .50-caliber machine guns and ten 5-inch rockets or 2,000 pounds of bombs

Cost: $51,572 (average P-51 cost per unit as of 1944)

The P-51D Mustang at Hill Air Force Base

During World War II, Hill Air Force Base’s engine repair shops maintained and overhauled the Packard-built engine in the P-51 aircraft until the end of the conflict. The base also performed maintenance and repair on the Mustang itself, even after the war and into the 1950s. In the demobilization that followed World War II, base personnel prepared and stored various P-51 variants and V-1650 engines for possible use in the future.

The P-51D on display was built using parts from multiple P-51s and placed on display at Hill Aerospace Museum in 1993. The serial number used for this plane was originally assigned to a P-51 lost during a mission over Europe in 1944. It was fabricated by Kal Aero, an aircraft restoration firm in California and was completed in 1992. The aircraft was painted to reflect the exact coloring of Colonel Chelsey Peterson’s P-51, the “Audrey,” named after his wife. Peterson flew with the 4th Fighter Group of the Eighth Air Force during World War II. Come see ours today!

Why was the P-51 Mustang so good?

The P-51’s range, speed, turn-radius, firepower and flight ceiling made it a formidable fighter. It particularly excelled during the European bombing war, where it escorted Allied bombers during their entire bombing run, something other Allied aircraft simply couldn’t do.

What company built the P-51 mustang?

The Mustang was built by North American Aviation from 1942 until the end of the war in 1945. In that time more than 15,000 were built, making it the most built fighter aircraft of all time.

How much horsepower does a P-51 Mustang have?

The P-51D utilized a Packard V-1650-7 Merlin 12-cylinder liquid cooled engine, producing 1,490hp.

What was the top speed of a P-51 mustang?

The Mustang could fly up to 440mph.

How many P-51 mustangs were built

A total of 15,567 P-51s were built.

How many P-51 mustangs are left?

Approximately 175 Mustangs are still air-worthy.

How much ammo did a P-51 carry?

The Mustang carried a total of 1,840 rounds for its 6 .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns.