Picture of North American P51D Mustang Fighter
The North American P51 Mustang was designed by a team led by Raymond Rice and Edgar Schmued and the prototype was manufactured in less than 4 months to meet the RAF's requirement for a high performance fighter. First deliveries of the P51 Mustang to the RAF occurred in November 1941, the RAF found the fighter had less performance than it's existing fighters, the Allison engine rather than the airframe design was soon found to be the problem.
In an attempt to improve performance the RAF re-engined a P51 Mustang with it's proven Roll-Royce Merlin 60 engine as used in their Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, the Mustang's performance was immediately transformed! Arrangements were made for Packard to make the Merlin under licence in the USA and North American re-designed the fighter to utilise the new Packard built Merlins.
The Mustang, designed to the RAF's Specification by North American and powered by the Packard built Roll-Royce Merlin engine was destined to become one of the best and most versatile fighters of WW2, the P51D Mustang was the best of the Mustangs combining a Packard built V12 Merlin of 1,700 hp with laminar-flow wings and a high visibility RAF style bubble canopy, they were destined to remain in service with some air forces until the early 1980s and are still used today in high speed pylon racing!
North American P51D Mustang Specifications:
- Crew: Pilot only
- Length: 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
- Wingspan: 37 ft 0 in (11.28 m)
- Height: 13 ft 8 in (4.17 m)
- Maximum takeoff weight: 12,100 lb (5,490 kg)
- Engine: Single 1,695 hp Packard built Merlin V-1650-7 supercharged V-12
- Maximum speed: 437 mph (703 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
- Range: 1,650 mi (2,655 km) with external drop tanks
- Service ceiling: 41,900 ft (12,770 m)
- Rate of climb: 3,200 ft/min (16.3 m/s)
Two Seat Mustang?
As can be seen in this picture, it was possible, by simply removing non-essential equipment, to fit temporarily a second seat in the cockpit area, access however is awkward and would not be a good place to be in combat if a quick exit was required!
The picture above depicts the P-51D Mustang (D-FBBD) "Big Beautiful Doll" Unfortunately it was destroyed following an in-air collision with Douglas AD-4NA Skyraider (F-AZDP) at Duxfords 2011 Flying Legends Display, fortunately both pilots were ok, Rob Davies parachuting to safety a few hundred feet before his mustang finished it's near vertical dive to the ground, the Skyraider landed ok but lost a six foot part of it's starboard wing as can be seen via this Skyraider link.
North American P51D Mustang Armament:
- Six 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns
- Twin hard-points for up to 1,000 lb of munitions or drop tanks each
- Ten 5 in air-to-service rocket projectiles
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North American P51D Mustang WW2 Fighter Picture and Information