Friday, December 9, 2011


P-51 Mustang

North American


The arrival in late 1943 of Mustangs powered by the Rolls Royce Merlin engine enabled the Eighth Air Force to resume the daylight bombing of Germany it had suspended in October of 1942 due to unacceptable losses.  Much as the Spitfire is best remembered for its role in the Battle of Britain so too the legacy of the P-51 will be forever linked to its contribution in enabling long range Allied strategic bombing despite withering German opposition.  

Crew:                    1

Power:                   Packard 1590 hp V-1650-7 Merlin piston engine

Max. Speed:          703 kph / 437 mph
Ceiling:                 12,771 m / 41,900 ft
Range:                  3347 km / 2080 miles with drop tanks
Climb:                   1060 m / 3475 ft per minute

Weight -
Empty:                  3230 kg / 7125 lb
Max. Take Off:     5262 kg / 11,600 lb

Size -
Wingspan:            11.29 m / 37 ft
Wing Area:           21.83 sq m / 235 sq ft
Length:                 9.85 m / 32 ft 3 in
Height:                  4.16 m / 13 ft 8 in

                           6 - 12.7 mm / 0.5 in machine-guns
                                 up to 454 kg / 1000 lb bombs or rockets
                                 in place of drop tanks



The original P-51A Mustang was unacceptable as a fighter because of its under-performing Allison engine and it was assigned the role of fighter-bomber.  Pilots also complained about their limited visibility with the cockpit design.  Both problems would be remedied with the subsequent P-51B.  This photo was taken by Richard Seaman.

P-51A and P-51D

Richard Seaman caught this side by side comparison of the two major Mustang versions while photographing the 2010 Chino Air Show

The 332nd Fighter Group is probably the most famous group of American aviators from the Second World War.  Although they flew several fighter types, including the P-40 Tomahawk and P-47 Thunderbolt, they are best remembered for their distinguished service escorting American bombers over Germany in the P-51.  

Mustang P-51A cutaway

Related Topics:

FW-190 Focke-Wulf

Spitfire Supermarine

A6M Zero Mitsubishi

B-25 Mitchell

W O R L D   W A R  II  P L A N E S


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