The Mustang was unquestionably the finest fighter to come out of WW II. Designed and built by North American Aviation, the P-51 first flew on October 26, 1940. This plane featured a ducted radiator under the rear fuselage which reduced drag and offered positive thrust. The innovative laminar-flow wing design and smooth exterior skin, further reduced air drag, making the P-51 one of the fastest fighters of its time. In 1942, the P-51 was fitted with the Merlin engine which increased the service ceiling to 41,900 ft. By 1944, numerous improvements resulted in the P-51D. Powered by the 1,510 hp Packard V-1650-7 engine, it had a max. speed of 437 mph., wing span of 37 ft., length of 32 ft. 3 in., and max T-O weight of 11,600 lbs. With two drop tanks, these long-range fighters could escort bombers to strike any target in Western Europe with deadly regularity.
All Rights Reserved, Copyright by Edward C. Schaefer, 1996, 2014.