- Mustang engineering team was lead by North American Aviation engineers Raymond Rice and Edgar Schmued.
- The P-51 Mustang was built by North American Aviation (NAA) and produced in their factories in Inglewood California and Dallas, Texas.
- The engineering prototype was designed and built in 102 days.
- The Mustang incorporated the new NACA designed laminar flow wing.
- The Mustang’s new radiator design utilized the heated air exiting the radiator as a form of jet propulsion called the “Meredith Effect”.
- The NAA prototype, NA-73X, was first flown on October 26, 1940.
- The first Mustangs, P-51A, were powered by the Allison V-1710 single stage V-12 engine.
- The Merlin powered XP-51B fighter was test flown November 30, 1942, adding speed and ceiling in excess of 40,000 ft to the Mustang’s performance. Flight tests confirmed the potential of the Merlin-powered aircraft.
- There were 16,776 P-51 Mustangs produced in various models.
- The P-51D model with the “bubble” canopy and Rolls Royce Merlin engine was the most widely produced variant of the Mustang.
- The P-51D was armed with six 50 cal. Browning machine guns with a total of 1880, 400 rounds each inboard and 270 rounds each outboard.
- P-51D with Rolls Royce 1650-7 V-12
– Horsepower – 1490 at take-off
– Maximum speed at level flight – 438 mph
– Gross weight – 10,800 lbs
– Range – 500 to 1000 miles with drop tanks
– Fuel – 92 gal. each wing tank
– Fuel Burn – 60 gal. per hour average
- The P-51 cost approximately $50,000.00 to produce in 1944.
- The Mustang was the first single-engine fighter based in Britain with the range to escort and protect the bombers all the way to Nazi, Germany and home again. The bomber crews called them their “Little Friends.”
- Crazy Horse and Crazy Horse 2 wear the authentic colors of the 487th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group, 8th Air Force at Asche, Belgium, 1945.
- The 352nd Fighter Squadron was known as the “Blue Nose Bastards of Bodney.” Major George Preddy Jr. was the highest scoring P-51 Mustang Ace with 27.5 aerial victories.
- P-51 Mustangs flew in both the Pacific and European theaters. After WWII the P-51 served in the air forces of more than 55 nations.
- The last Mustang retired from US service in 1978. The last Mustang retired from foreign service was in 1984 by the Dominican Republic Air Force.
- P-51 accounted for almost half of the enemy aircraft destroyed in Europe during WWII.
- P-51 was re-designated as the F-51 during the Korean War. The F-51 was retained by reserve units until 1957.
* Reference Source:
Mustang Designer; Edgar Schmued and the Development of the P-51
by Ray Wagner
Mustang; The Story of the P-51 Fighter
by Robert W. Gruenhagen