History of the P-51 Mustang
The P-51 Mustang
The P-51 Mustang, also known as the North America P-51 Mustang was a fighter aircraft used in World War II. The P-51D Mustang was originally designed and manufactured by the North American Aviation company to be used by The Royal Air Force in Great Britain. They cost about 50,000 dollars each. From design until the first Mustang was actually built, was an amazingly short time of 117 days.
Originally the P-51 used a V-12 Allison engine, but since these aircraft engines didn't perform well at higher altitudes. Later, the RAF decided to use a Rolls Royce Merlin Engine that had a 2 stage 2 speed supercharger, and also incorporated a 4 bladed propeller that would allow the Mustang to perform better, power-wise, at higher altitudes. Later North American Aviation would use a version of the Rolls Royce Merlin in Spitfires replacing them with the Packard V-1650.
The P-51 D was a very reliable fighter aircraft. The P-51 served as a fighter-bomber and bomber escort. Changes to the aircraft besides the engine were to the canopy that was more bubble shaped to improve the pilots visual abilities, the nose guns were removed and a dorsal fin was added to fix a low speed snap roll problem. Some of the P-51's nemesis or air opponents were the Germans Messerschmitt 109 and the Focke-Wulf 109.
The North American P-51 Mustang was armed with six Browning M2 .50 caliber machine gunswith a total of 1,880 rounds.
Hermann Goering,Commander of the German air force, Luftwaffe, was quoted as saying: "when I saw Mustangs over Berlin I knew the jig was up".
Note the black and white bands painted (invasion stripes) on this P-51 for easy allied forces identification during the D-Day Landings.