North American P-51 Mustang - fighter (2024)

On of the best fighters of the World War II. The first prototype flew on October 26, 1940. Entered production in 1941 and a total of 15386 aircraft were built in the USA.

North American P-51 Mustang - fighter (1)
ENGINE1 x Packard Merlin V-1650-7, 1264kW
Take-off weight5488 kg12099 lb
Empty weight3232 kg7125 lb
Wingspan11.28 m37 ft 0 in
Length9.83 m32 ft 3 in
Height2.64 m9 ft 8 in
Wing area21.65 m2233.04 sq ft
Max. speed703 km/h437 mph
Ceiling12770 m41900 ft
Range w/max.fuel3347 km2080 miles
ARMAMENT6 x 12.7mm machine-guns, 454kg of bombs
A three-view drawing (592 x 902)
Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120
Anonymous, 25.01.2024 20:11



Anonymous, 25.01.2024 20:11



arachni_name, e-mail, 30.12.2020 06:46



Ron, 16.10.2017 22:53

The 93 P-51A Mustangs with 4X20mm Mk II Hispano cannons did not have the problem with reliability like the US M2 Hispano.
If any of these had Merlin instead of Allison engines or if some Merlin P-51s had M2 cannons, is less clear. Perhaps photos of a Merlin Mustang with 20mm cannons was not a production model.

The idea of RAF P-51As with reliable RAF cannons makes one think the weight was too much for a dogfighter version. I think the extra power of the Merlin should have allowed for a good contender even with 2 Hispano and 2 Browning like the later Spits had. They needed more than 4 fifties in the RAF P-51 Mk II. This was an opportunity to have a US fighter with a reliable cannon. 93 should have been much more.


William T. Schwander, e-mail, 20.03.2017 20:52

Your "A" model is designated as an "D" model.


Harvey, e-mail, 23.04.2016 11:26

The picture of the plane at the top of this article is not a P-51D, which had a bubble canopy. The C and earlier versions had the type of canopy illustrated.


Klaatu83, e-mail, 27.07.2015 03:05

The P-51As in the photo at the top, painted with the distinctive diagonal stripes, belonged to a unit known as the Air Commandos, which operated in Burma during 1944 in support of General Orde Wingate's famous Chindits.


Fred Benenati, e-mail, 25.01.2015 14:38

Just to set the record straight, the P-51D, with a Packard built Rolls Royce Merlin engine, developed 1,490 horse power, as opposed to the 1,200 horse power stated by a Mr. D'Amario. Reference: Robert Gruenhagen's book about P-51 Mustangs. Yes, it was a wonderful aircraft.


Ron, e-mail, 20.10.2014 22:10

I was disappointed to learn of the stress fractures limiting turns to 2.5g for the P-51H. Engine trouble was another serious problem. Thus, the weight trimmed Mustang was a fighter between wars while the sturdier, trusted P-51D saw action again in Korea.


Ron, e-mail, 07.08.2014 01:16

I like the way the Fiat G55 Centauro has a similar wing planform. It was a world-beater like the P-51 but for it's production quantity. I was wondering if the design similarities were not a coincidence(general wing shape, ventral air-scoop, razorback); even both prototypes temporarily sported under-nose 12.7mm MGs! But no, just parallel coincidence of design.
It had me wondering though, because of the influence of a former Messerschmitt employee on the P-51 design and the fact that the Centauro outclassed the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and impressed the Germans. Alas, the P-51 prototype was too early (Oct 1940) and the Fiat G55 followed it. And visa-versa, I'm sure the G55 design wasn't influenced by the Mustang either.

All 3 shot eachother down. The Bf 109G usually shot at the G55 perhaps mistaking it for a P-51 which it resembled except from the side view (also, after Rome switched sides, many Italians flew against the Luftwaffe in the Co-belligerant Italian air force for the Allies).

All the same, the performance of the P-51 and the G55 were both top-notch, I like to think of the Fiat Centauro as an Itlian Mustang. They both ruled high altitude.
Both out-turned the Bf 109 Gustav (especially at speed) and out-ranged it. Both could out-dive it too, but not out-climb it. Though the G55 was chosen to be the standard Italian fighter mid-war, it was numbered only in the hundreds (barely), not thousands like the P-51 or prolific Messerscmitt.


Tom Everhart, e-mail, 31.05.2014 19:54

Hey Guys! You need to "Learn More" about the P-40 and the P-51. They did put a RR Merlin on the "F" model P-40 and then went back to the Allison V1710. They also made a "Proto Type P-40 Q" that had the Mustang style "Bubble Canopy" and a "Laminar Flow Wing". That Plane became an "Air Racer" and Crashed during the Cleveland Air Racers right after the War.


Bob Kusterer, e-mail, 18.02.2014 02:58

I used to fly the P-51D "Boomer" when it was owned by Gary Koenig. I had flown an AT-6 and a P-40 prior so it was not completely foreign to me. WOW ! ! what a performer compared to the P-40 ! ! I really liked the airplane; very honest and easy to fly. My only "surprise" was when I made my first go-around with full flaps. That last notch of flaps has a tremendous amount of drag. When I came up to climb power, the plane hardly accelerated; I thought something was wrong with the engine because I had experienced really impressive acceleration on takeoff. Also, it took a whole big bunch of right rudder whereas surprisingly little was required for takeoff. When I raised the flaps, it was like I lit the afterburner. After that "learning experience" I felt right at home in the bird. One of the nicest planes I've ever flown. Thanks, Gary, for letting me fly your beautiful plane.


Peter Dewsnap, e-mail, 20.12.2013 19:19

An excellent aircraft built to British specifications and fitted with a Rolls Royce Merlin engine. We saw one at the Latrobe Air Show in Pennsylvania some years ago. Most impressive.


RM Hardoko Mardiko, e-mail, 15.09.2013 14:24

to John
Sorry., just make a comment again about P-51 although already answered by you more than one year ago .... THANK A LOT ... my new question is : Are there these old Mustang still flying in USA now days ( perhaps in Air show or exibition) ??? (sorry rather childish hehehe question)


Alfred J. D'Amario, e-mail, 19.08.2013 04:56

I was privileged to fly the P-51D for 70 hours while in advanced pilot training at Craig AFB, Alabama in 1951 (class 51H) As everyone who has flown it says, it was a wonderful airplane. You had to be sure to keep the nose down on the turn to final, or it would kill you. But, other than that, it was fantastic.
Just before graduation, we took a weekend cross-country to Miami with a stop at the SAC base in Savannah, Georgia. Since they were a bomber base, they were used to one minute intervals between takeoffs. When we were ready to go, we were cleared at one minute intervals. But, I was number four, and before the tower could clear me, some idiot transport pilot started filing a complete flight plan over the tower frequency. by the time the tower could break in and give me the OK to go, my flight had joined up and was almost abeam of me going the other way. I firewalled the throttle and as soon as I was airborne I sucked up the gear and started a left turn. I passed by the control tower at about window level and not more than 50 feet away. I joined up with my flight and we got out of there before they could call me back to give me a hard time.
We continued on toward Miami where my instructor proceeded to land at the wrong airport, gear up. In route, I had assumed the #3 position, flight lead. So, I had the flight join up on me and we proceeded to the Miami International Airport and a great weekend on the beach.
The P-51 is everything everyone says about it. When you firewall the throttle, you know you have 1200 horses in your left hand. I had 70 hours of some of the most exciting and satisfying flying anyone could ever have. And I loved it.


Keith Lindsay, e-mail, 06.03.2013 11:53

I found the information; the mustang had ten degrees of dihedral.


MIke, e-mail, 05.03.2013 18:44

Yes that IS a P-51-d... not all had the clear canopy.. some even had the "malcom" hoods..


Keith Lindsay, e-mail, 04.03.2013 18:51

anyone know what the wing dihedral was? 5 degrees?



ron, e-mail, 12.02.2013 04:28

My Dad trained in P-51s in Florida. He said the skin started coming off so they sut down the program until the problem was fixed. The AAC sent him and others to fly B-17s while the design problem was getting fixed. Does anyone have information about this? I see one reference to teeting problems.


Steve, e-mail, 09.10.2012 01:46

It is possible to do a direct comparison between the P-40 and P-51 airframes - specifically, between the P-40N and the P-51A, which both used the same engine, the V-1710-81. From 5000' to 15000', the P-51A had a speed superiority of from 37 to 42 mph - not trivial. The explanation is easy to find. The P-51's design was fully five years later than the original P-40 design as the Hawk 75 /P-36 (1935 vs. 1940). In that time came the reduced-drag laminar flow airfoil and radiator duct.


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All the World's Rotorcraft

North American P-51 Mustang - fighter (2024)


How many P-51 are still flying? ›

During WWII approximately 15,000 P-51 Mustangs were produced. Today, however, there are around 150 airworthy aircraft remaining, and they're located around the world either in museums, flying, or are being restored.

Was the P-51 better than the Spitfire? ›

In most cases, the Spitfire had better performance as an all-purpose fighter. The all-important climb rate for a P51D sat at 3200ft per minute whilst the Spitfire could climb at an impressive 3650ft per minute. The maximum speed of a P51D was 437mph whilst the Spitfire was slightly faster at 448mph.

Was the P-51 the best fighter? ›

That aircraft became one of the greatest fighters of the Second World War - the P-51 Mustang. The P-51 could fly and fight with British and American bombers all the way to Berlin and back again.

Why was the P-51 so fast? ›

Their design, dubbed Mustang by the British, had a low-drag laminar-flow wing and an efficient low-drag engine cooling system that gave it exceptional speed and range.

Is the P-51 easy to fly? ›

Warbird Alley: P-51 Mustang Pilot Report. The P-51D, which I flew, was a very straightforward airplane in every way. By that I mean it wasn't difficult to fly or hard to handle, as long as you remembered a few basic things. First and foremost, you never forgot for a minute that it could bite hard if you got careless.

Does Tom Cruise own a P-51? ›

The Original Top Gun Inspired Cruise's Love Of Flying

The P-51 Mustang used in Top Gun: Maverick was built in 1946 and Cruise has owned the plane, which has an estimated value of $4 million, since 2001.

What did the Germans think of the P-51? ›

In general, they respected the US bird. One of the famous German pilots even told that he realized that his country was doomed to lose once he saw that US plane over Berlin. Of course, adequate pilots with decent combat experience couldn't underestimate a dangerous rival and the P-51 was a very dangerous opponent.

What made the P-51 so special? ›

The long-range P-51 Mustang fighter was invaluable to the Allied victory, enabling resumption of strategic bombing after heavy losses suffered by unescorted bombers in 1943. Developed for export to Britain, models modified by the British to use Rolls-Royce Merlin engines became America's most capable wartime fighters.

What were the weakness of the P-51 Mustang? ›

Other problems included its external fuel tanks, which were prone to catching fire, and the canopy initially had limited visibility compared to other fighters of the era. Another issue, which was typical of aircraft using liquid-cooled engines, was a slight yaw instability in the rudder.

Was the P-51 bad? ›

The British accepted the plane into service, and gave it its famous “Mustang” nickname. However, the P-51 did have issues. While the American-built Allison engine was fine at lower altitudes, it suffered a drastic drop-off in performance at higher ones.

What happened to all the P51 Mustangs after the war? ›

As all except the earliest aircraft were obtained under Lend-Lease, all Mustang aircraft still on RAF charge at the end of the war were either returned to the USAAF "on paper" or retained by the RAF for scrapping. The last RAF Mustangs were retired from service in 1947.

How much does it cost to ride in a P-51? ›

Book you unforgettable P-51 Mustang ride in Gunfighter today. Each ride is just $2,500. Reach out to Jeff, 901-606-6735 to schedule your flight.

How many P51s were shot down? ›

By 8 May 1945, the 8th, 9th, and 15th Air Force's P-51 groups claimed some 4,950 aircraft shot down (about half of all USAAF claims in the European theater, the most claimed by any Allied fighter in air-to-air combat) and 4,131 destroyed on the ground. Losses were about 2,520 aircraft.

Are there any P38 still flying? ›

Today, only about half a dozen P-38 Lightnings are still flyable, and one of those is Planes of Fame Air Museum's “23 Skidoo.” “23 Skidoo” is a P-38J Lightning that was built in Burbank, California as the 5,018th aircraft produced by Lockheed.


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