Monday, June 17, 2019 11:10

The Elegant P-51 Mustang

– Wiccapundit

Truly one of the most beautiful aircraft ever designed is the North American P-51 Mustang.  A few interesting facts:

1. The Brits asked North American to build the prototype in 120 days.  They did it in 117.  Nowadays it would take 120 days just to set up the committee to decide on the shape of the conference table to meet at to discuss choosing the name of the plane.

2. The most common variant, the P-51D model, had a top speed of 437 mph at 25,000 feet.  By way of comparison, the Cessna Citation Mustang light-jet business aircraft introduced in 2007 has a top speed of 0.63 Mach at 25,000 feet, which is 436 mph.   The performance of a 70+ year-old propeller-driven, reciprocating-engine design is just as impressive as the most modern, high-tech, computer-designed jet aircraft.

3.  When the US changed its tactics from defensive use of the Mustang to offensive use, the Luftwaffe lost 17% of their pilots in just a one-week period.  The great German ace Adolph Galland stated that that was the moment Germany lost the air war.

4. Civilian-owned Mustangs have dominated the Reno Air Races Unlimited Gold category.  The course record in that race at Reno is held by the highly-modified P-51 Dago Red, which averaged over 500 mph during the race.

Just amazing.  And as beautiful as they come:

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