Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hawker Hunter F58 "Miss Demeanour"

Hawker Hunter F58 "Miss Demeanour - Photo Chris Lord
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary roles with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy until the early 1990s. The Hunter was also widely exported, serving with 21 other air forces; 50 years after its original introduction it is still in active service, operating with the Lebanese Air Force. On 7 September 1953, the modified first prototype broke the world air speed record, achieving 727.63 mph (1,171.01 km/h). Hunters were also used by two RAF display teams; the "Black Arrows", who on one occasion looped a record-breaking 22 examples in formation, and later the "Blue Diamonds", who flew 16 aircraft. Overall, 1,972 Hunters were produced by Hawker Siddeley and under licence. In British service, the aircraft was replaced by the Hawker Siddeley Harrier and the McDonnell Douglas Phantom.

At the end of the Second World War, it was apparent that jet propulsion would be the future of fighter development. Many companies were quick to come up with airframe designs for this new means of propulsion, among these was Hawker Aviation's chief designer, Sydney Camm. The origins of the Hunter trace back to the Hawker Sea Hawk straight-wing carrier-based fighter, which had originally been marketed towards the Royal Air Force rather than the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy; however the demonstrator Hawker P.1040 did not attract the RAF's interest. The Sea Hawk had a straight wing and used the Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine, both features that rapidly became obsolete. Seeking better performance and fulfilment of the Air Ministry Specification E.38/46, Sydney Camm designed the Hawker P.1052, which was essentially a Sea Hawk with a 35-degree swept wing. First flying in 1948, the P.1052 demonstrated good performance and conducted several carrier trials, but did not warrant further development into a production aircraft. As a private venture, Hawker converted the second P.1052 prototype into the Hawker P.1081 with swept tailplanes, a revised fuselage, and a single jet exhaust at the rear. First flown on 19 June 1950, the P.1081 was promising enough to draw interest from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), but further development was stalled by difficulties with the engine reheat. The sole prototype was lost in a crash in 1951.

The Hunter was a conventional all-metal monoplane with a retractable tricycle landing gear. The pilot sat on a Martin-Baker 2H or 3H ejector seat, while the two-seat trainer version used Mk 4H ejection seats. The fuselage was of monocoque construction, with a removable rear section for engine maintenance. The engine was fed through triangular air intakes in the wing roots and had a single jetpipe in the rear of the fuselage. The mid-mounted wings had a leading edge sweep of 35° and slight anhedral, the tailplanes and fin were also swept. The aircraft's controls were conventional but powered. A single airbrake was fitted under the ventral rear fuselage on production models.

The definitive version of the Hunter was the FGA.9, on which the majority of export versions were based. Although the Supermarine Swift was initially viewed more favourably politically, the Hunter proved to be far more successful, having a long life due to its low maintenance and operating costs. The Hunter served with the RAF for over 30 years, and as late as 1996 hundreds were still in active service in various parts of the world.

The single-seat fighter version of the Hunter was armed with four 30 mm (1.18 in) ADEN cannon, with 150 rounds of ammunition per gun. The cannon and ammunition boxes were contained in a single pack that could be removed from the aircraft for rapid re-arming and maintenance. Unusually, the barrels of the cannon remained in the aircraft while the pack was removed and changed. In the two-seat version, either a single 30 mm ADEN cannon was carried or, in some export versions, two, with a removable ammunition tank. A simple EKCO ranging radar was fitted in the nose. Later versions of Hunter aircraft were fitted with SNEB Pods; these were 68 mm (2.68 in) rocket projectiles in 18-round Matra pods, providing an effective strike capability against ground targets.
Hawker Hunter F58 "Miss Demeanour" Takes Off - Photo Chris Lord
The rear fuselage can be removed to gain access to the engine for maintenance. The P.1067 first flew from RAF Boscombe Down on 20 July 1951, powered by a 6,500 lbf (28.91 kN) Avon 103 engine from an English Electric Canberra bomber. The second prototype was fitted with a 7,550 lbf (33.58 kN) Avon 107
turbojet. Hawker's third prototype was powered by an 8,000 lbf (35.59 kN) Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 101. Production Hunters were fitted with either the Avon or the Sapphire engine. Early on in the Hunter's service the Avon engines proved to have poor surge margins, and worryingly suffered compressor stalls when the cannon were fired, sometimes resulting in flameouts. The practise of "fuel dipping", reducing fuel flow to the engine when the cannon were fired, was a satisfactory solution. Although the Sapphire did not suffer from the flameout problems of the Avon and had better fuel economy, Sapphire-powered Hunters suffered many engine failures. The RAF elected to persevere with the Avon in order to simplify supply and maintenance, since the same engine was also used by the Canberra bomber. The RAF sought more thrust than was available from the Avon 100 series; in response Rolls-Royce developed the Avon 200 series engine. This was an almost wholly new design, equipped with a new compressor to put an end to surge problems, an annular combustion chamber, and an improved fuel control system. The resulting Avon 203 produced 10,000 lbf (44.48 kN) of thrust, and was the engine for the Hunter F.6.

Friday, November 25, 2011


The Breitling Wingwalkers Photo Chris Lord

Very familiar to European airshow visitors this is the world's only aerobatic formation wingwalking team. UK based AeroSuperBatics have been specialists in display flying for over 27 years and operate one of the best known and loved civilian air display acts in Europe. This wingwalking team has performed at over 2500 different events successfully representing several large brand names in the form of very high profile sponsorship deals. The wingwalkers are seen live by over 6 million spectators each year in the UK alone. They perform a breathtaking sequence of acrobatic manoeuvres and handstands whilst strapped to the top wings of the team's beautiful Boeing Stearman biplanes. The team pilots fly the aircraft through a well rehearsed energetic routine of dazzling aerobatics and close formation flypasts as the wingwalkers wave at the crowd. These manoeuvres include, loops, rolls, stall turns and even inverted flight! During all of this, the wingwalkers experience speeds of up to 150 mph and 'G' forces of up to 4G! The world famous AeroSuperBatics team also make regular appearances on local, national and international TV channels. They also often feature on radio programs, in newspapers and in many magazines. All of this publicity helps generate over £5 million of media exposure for their sponsor each year!

Three of the Brave Girls Posing Before The Show Photo Chris Lord

Simply getting airborne at the start of the 20th century was an achievement, but getting back down to earth without ending up in a pile of broken wood and linen was an even greater one. Plenty of intrepid aviators met their end in homemade machines that managed one take off and no successful landings. Spectators in their thousands would turn up at the early airfields to watch young aviation pioneers pushing the limits of their flying machines.
Then came the Great War and with it galloping strides in aircraft development and flying skills. By the end of the war aircraft could fly higher and faster, were more reliable and their pilots more skilled. When the war was over there were hundreds of aeroplanes lying around that were no longer needed and that could be snapped up for peanuts by young daredevils who had caught the flying bug and weren’t very keen on spending the rest of their days working in an office. And so the flying circus was invented.
Airshows were staged at which members of the public could take joyrides for a few shillings or dollars. There were displays of terrifying loops and rolls and tricks like flying upside down. Naturally, the more outrageous and dangerous the stunt, the more the crowd enjoyed it, so if a young pilot wanted to make a living out of flying he had to come up with something a bit different Something that pushed the edges of the envelope a little further out.
In 1918 an American flier called Ormer Locklear came up with a stunt that was guaranteed to wow the crowds: he would climb out of the aeroplane and walk along the wing and even climb from one aeroplane onto to another. Apparently Locklear first clambered out of the cockpit to fix a technical problem while training during the war. A normal person would have landed and then sorted out the problem. Pretty soon you couldn’t operate a flying circus that didn’t have a wing walking act and Locklear was soon joined by numerous other daredevils including the wonderfully named Ethal Dare, the world’s first female wing walk who like Locklear would walk from plane to plane.
Not surprisingly there were a few mishaps. Ormer himself came a cropper while working on a film. These wing walk pioneers were operating without a safety net: no parachutes, no safety wires tethering them to the aircraft. A slip of the foot and it was the high dive for our brave showman or showgirl. In 1938 the authorities in America decided that parachutes had to be worn though by that time war was on its way and the show was about to close anyway.
Flying changed after the war. There were new goals like breaking the sound barrier, space exploration and the development of quiet, fast and comfortable airliners so that we could all go on foreign holidays relatively cheaply. In other words we’d got used to flying and some of the magic had gone out of it. There were still airshows with amazing displays of flying skills and some truly incredible modern jet fighter aircraft shattering greenhouse windows on high-speed fly pasts. But a little bit of the between-the-wars glamour had gone out of it.
But those barnstorming days of the ’20s and 30s and the characters who manned the flying circuses hadn’t been forgotten by those with a deep love of flying and a passion for its history. A few wing walking teams operated in America in the 1970s but it wasn’t until frustrated barnstormer Vic Norman founded his famous Aerosuperbatics wing walking team in the early 1980s that the sight of dare devils handstanding and flying upside down on the wing was seen in Europe.
Yes, the wing walkers are safely tethered to their Boeing Stearman biplanes, but the glamour, spectacle, sounds and atmosphere is just the same as it was when young and brave Ormer Locklear went for a dramatic 10ft stroll along the wing of his warplane in 1918.

Go That Way Said The Navigator! Photo Chris Lord

Friday, November 18, 2011

Museum Piece

Museum Piece Photo Chris Lord

I took the original image of this aircraft (this picture was the first in my "Flights of Fancy" series) during a visit to the Science Museum in London where it was hanging from the ceiling. This was many years ago and unfortunately I neglected to find out or makes notes as to it's identity. A Google search for images from the museum brings up several photographs of the plane and it's environment in the Hall of Progress but nobody bothers to mention what this plane actually is. So I am unable to enlighten you as well. Perhaps if anyone reading this knows the identity of this plane you might email me with it or leave a comment here on the blog. I would appreciates that. Meanwhile I fooled around with this picture some time ago and here it is for your viewing pleasure.


Well after all this time I finally have an answer to the mystery. Many thanks to Dave Godden who has pointed me in the right direction and informed me that this is a Beech 18.

The Beechcraft Model 18 (or "Twin Beech", as it is also known) is a six to 11-seat, twin-engined, low-wing, tailwheel light aircraft manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. Continuously produced from 1937 to November 1969, (over 32 years, the world record at the time), over 9,000 were produced, making it one of the world's most widely used light aircraft. Sold worldwide as a civilian executive, utility, cargo aircraft, and passenger airliner on tailwheels, nosewheels, skis or floats, it was also used as a military aircraft.

During and after World War II, over 4,500 Beech 18s saw military service -- as light transport, light bomber (for China), aircrew trainer (for bombing, navigation and gunnery), photo-reconnaisance, and "mother ship" for target drones -- including United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, AT-11 Kansan; and United States Navy (USN) UC-45J Navigator, SNB-1 Kansan, and others. In World War II, over 90% of USAAF bombardiers and navigators trained in these aircraft.

In the early postwar era, the Beech 18 was the pre-eminent "business aircraft" and "feeder airliner." Besides carrying passengers, its civilian uses have included aerial spraying, sterile insect release, fish seeding, dry ice cloud seeding, aerial firefighting, air mail delivery, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, weapon- and drug-smuggling, engine testbed, skywriting, banner towing, and stunt aircraft. Many are now privately owned, around the world, with over 300 in the U.S. still on the FAA Aircraft Registry in December 2014 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Flying Into San Diego

Unlike most airports built miles outside of their respective cities San Diego International Airport, sometimes referred to as Lindbergh Field, is situated right in this town of ravines and hills. Aircraft coming in seem to fly down the steep hillside to land. This means that aircraft fly really low over the houses and buildings in the area near the airport making for some great photo opportunities.
The Commuter Terminal at San Diego International Airport
Passengers Deplane From A Commuter Aircraft at San Diego Airport
A Southwest Airlines Aeroplane Flies Over Downtown As It Prepares To Land

 All Photos Chris Lord

Monday, November 14, 2011

North American Aviation T-6 Texan

North American Aviation T-6 Texan Photo Chris Lord

The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s. Designed by North American Aviation, the T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force. The USAAC designated it as the "AT-6", the US Navy the "SNJ", and British Commonwealth air forces, the Harvard, the name it is best known by outside of the United States. It remains a popular warbird aircraft. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another Look at The Red Arrows

 Photos Chris Lord
The Reds Celebrate 50 years of Displays in 2014

Consolidated PBY Catalina

Catalina Flying Boat Photo Chris Lord

The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an American flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft. It was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. PBYs served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other nations. In the United States Army Air Forces and later in the United States Air Force their designation was OA-10. A Canadian-built PBY would be familiarly called a Canso. During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escorts, search and rescue missions (especially air-sea rescue), and cargo transport. The PBY was the most successful aircraft of its kind; no other flying boat was produced in greater numbers. The last active military PBYs were not retired from service until the 1980s. Even today, over 70 years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as an airtanker in aerial firefighting operations all over the world. The initialism of "P.B.Y." was determined in accordance with the U.S. Navy aircraft designation system of 1922; PB representing "Patrol Bomber" and Y being the code used for the aircraft's manufacturer, Consolidated Aircraft. The PBY was originally designed to be a patrol bomber, an aircraft with a long operational range intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships at sea in order to compromise enemy supply lines. With a mind to a potential conflict in the Pacific Ocean, where troops would require resupply over great distances, the U.S. Navy in the 1930s invested millions of dollars in developing long-range flying boats for this purpose. Flying boats had the advantage of not requiring runways, in effect having the entire ocean available. Several different flying boats were adopted by the Navy, but the PBY was the most widely used and produced. Although slow and ungainly, PBYs distinguished themselves in World War II as exceptionally reliable. Allied armed forces used them successfully in a wide variety of roles that the aircraft was never intended for. They are remembered by many veterans of the war for their role in rescuing downed airmen, in which they saved the lives of thousands of aircrew downed over water. PBY airmen called their aircraft the "cat" on combat missions and "Dumbo" in air-sea rescue service.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Red Arrows

Red Arrows Photos Chris Lord

The 1950s and 1960s were the heyday of Royal Air Force jet aerobatic display teams. By the mid-60s almost every Flying Training School, and several operational squadrons, had their own teams. So much time, effort and money was being expended on these non-established tasks that the Royal Air Force eventually decided to disband them all and form a single, full-time professional team. Thus, in 1964, the Red Pelicans flying six Jet Provost T Mk 4s became the first team to represent the Royal Air Force as a whole. In that same year a team of five yellow Folland Gnat jet trainers, known as the Yellowjacks, was formed at No 4 Flying Training School at Royal Air Force Valley in north Wales, led by Flight Lieutenant Lee Jones. The following year Jones was posted to the Central Flying School (CFS) to form the Red Arrows. The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (RAFAT), the formal name of the Red Arrows, began life at RAF Fairford in Glouces­tershire, then a satellite of CFS. Initially there were seven display pilots and ten Gnat jet trainers. The name ‘Red Arrows’ was chosen to combine the appeal and expertise of two earlier teams, the famous Black Arrows and the Red Pelicans.

In their first season, 1965, the Red Arrows flew 65 displays in Britain, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Germany, and the Team was awarded the Britannia Trophy by the Royal Aero Club in recognition of its outstanding contribution to British prestige in the field of aviation. When the Royal Air Force decided to retain the Team for 1966, two spare pilots were established but the Team continued to fly just seven aircraft in most displays. The first display with 9 pilots was in July 1966 for the benefit of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The practice of carrying spare pilots proved unsatisfactory because the display was so specialised that each position had its own demands. To be of any use at all, the spare pilots had to be capable of filling any position at very short notice. Thus, they required more training than any other member of the team and, as a result, became more skilled. Not surprisingly the spares became dissatisfied with their roles as reserves.

The Red Arrows flew nine aircraft in displays from time to time from mid-1966 onwards, but it was not until 1968 that the Team was officially increased in size to nine. Although there was nothing new in flying nine aircraft in a diamond-shaped formation, the Red Arrows’ perfectly symmetrical Diamond Nine quickly came to represent the peak of precision flying and it was eventually registered as an official trade mark.

The Red Arrows took delivery of the British Aerospace Hawk trainer in the autumn of 1979 and during that winter the pilots converted from the Gnat and worked up a display using the new aeroplane in time for the 1980 display season. Since being introduced into service with the Red Arrows, the Hawk has taken the Team on tours of eastern and western Europe, the USA and Canada, the Middle and Far East, Africa, the former Soviet Union and Australia. The 4000th display flown in the Hawk was at Royal Air Force Leuchars' Battle of Britain Airshow in September 2006.
Since the Team’s creation in 1965, the Red Arrows have flown over 4,000 displays in 52 countries. Today the Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world, acting as ambassadors for Great Britain when displaying overseas. They also support UK industry by demonstrating the capabilities of British equipment and expertise.

Friday, November 4, 2011

P51 Mustang

P51 Mustang - Photo Chris Lord

Among one of the most famous fighters of World War II, the P-51 Mustang has its roots in both Britain and the USA. Originally overlooked by the USAAF, the P-51 did not see action with American forces until March 1943. Once its full potential had been developed, the USA realized that this aircraft had been ignored for far too long a time. With the forging of the American airframe with the British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, it would be unmatched by any other piston aircraft of World War II. 

In late 1939, with the likelihood of full scale war in Europe a major concern, the British Royal Air Force was looking seriously at methods of quickly increasing its fighter strength. In April 1940, the British Air Purchasing Commission approached North American Aviation with the intent of having them build P-40's for the RAF. Since the P-40 design went back to 1933, James H. "Dutch" Kendelberger, the president of North American offered to build an entirely new advanced fighter using the same Allison V-1710-39 engine, used on the P-40. It was said that "Dutch" got his inspiration for the P-51 after a 1938 tour of aircraft industries in Great Britain and Germany.1 North American's only previous fighter experience was with the NA-50A, but Dutch collaborated with J.L. "Lee" Atwood2 to formulate an outline for the project. The British agreed on the new type, NA-73X, only on the stipulation that a prototype be on hand within 120 days. North American designers Raymond Rice and Edgar Schmued, the latter had worked for Fokker and Messerschmitt in 1925, immediately set about meeting the requirements. A prototype was finished in 117 days minus the engine. Wheels also had to be borrowed from an AT-6 trainer. Six weeks later, and after several modifications, the aircraft took to the air October 26, 1940

With Vance Breese at the controls, who was one of the most famous test pilots in his day, the XP-51 reached 382 mph, exceeding the P-40's top speed by 25 mph. The P-51 was an immediate success and it even outperformed the Spitfire.6 Unique to the P-51 was the laminar flow wing design which was developed by the US National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Contemporary aircraft wings featured a wing cross-section with maximum thickness about a fifth of the way across the wing from the leading edge, with most of the camber on the top of the wing. The laminar flow wing, in contrast, has its maximum thickness well aft from the leading edge, and has almost as much camber on top as on the bottom. This feature reduced turbulent flow across the wing, thereby, reducing drag and increasing speed and range. Drag was also reduced by positioning a ventral radiator underneath the rear of the fuselage, to present the smallest possible fuselage cross section. The British Purchasing Commission was enthusiastic about the plane, and confirmed a production order for 320 Mustang Is. This was later increased by 300 for NA-83s, which differed only in minor details; the British designation was Mustang IA.7 Powered by the 1,100 hp Allison V-1710-39 (F3R) engine, the airplanes performance was only impressive up to 15,000 ft. However, performance would be dramatically improved once the airframe was matched with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. This is not to say that the Allison wasn't a good engine as it performed very well on the Lockheed P-38. The problem with the Allison had more to do with the USAAF's heavy reliance on turbosupercharging. This requirement was impossible to meet for all aircraft, due to a shortage of metal alloys, such as tungsten. There was some experimentation with turbosupercharged P-40s by designer Donaldson R. Berlin and these planes outperformed the Spitfire and Messerschmitt Bf 109

With the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine installed in the P-51B, the performance of the Mustang was dramatically improved . During the design stage, on May 4, 1940, the US Army released the design for export with the condition that two of the planes be delivered to them for evaluation. At this time the NA-73 was assigned the XP-51 designation. The first and tenth airframes were sent to the Army for testing; these were given the serial numbers 41-38 and -39. An order for 150 P-51s followed which was to satisfy the RAF request as part of the Lend Lease legislation. After Pearl Harbor, 53 of these were kept back as reconnaissance aircraft. Initially, the P-51 was named "Apache" for a short time, but the name "Mustang" was later adopted. The British designation would be Mustang I. Most of the first 20 Mustangs to arrive in England were used for test and evaluation.

It wasn't until 1942 that the USAAF decided to order 310 P-51As and 300 ground attack/bomber A-36A Mustangs. The reason for the delay in procurement of the type was for somewhat murky reasons, uncovered during an inquiry known as the Truman Report. The demand for kick-backs was refused by Dutch Kindelberger in order to get a production award. "Ultimately, even those who sought to block the procurement could not sustain their position, because of the obvious qualities of the airplane."10 The P-51A had an Allison V-1710-81 (F20R) engine which developed 1,200 hp for takeoff and increased maximum speed to 390 mph. The British designation for the P-51A was the Mustang II and fifty were delivered late in 1942. 

North American P-51H-5 Mustang
With the limitations for fighter duties due to the Allison engine, nevertheless, the Mustang had good ground attack potential, and its high speed at low altitude, made it ideal for tactical reconnaissance. To enhance altitude capabilities, a mockup was devised in England to use the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine in the P-51 airframe. One concept was to locate the new engine behind the cockpit, but this idea was rejected and the Merlin was mounted in the conventional position in the nose. Four airframes were adapted in England to take the Merlin engine. These four planes known as Mustang Xs had deep intakes below the engine for carburetor air. The results of the British tests were passed on to North American. In the meantime, North American had undertaken a similar conversion project and was building two Packard Merlin-powered Mustangs. Level speed improvement was increased 51 mph, to 441 mph. The airframes were strengthened to accommodate the extra power, the ventral radiator was deepened, and the carburetor intake was moved from above the nose to below, to accommodate the Merlin updraft induction system.11 Even before the Army's Merlin powered Mustangs had flown, The US Army ordered 2,200 of the more powerful fighters. For a short time, this model was designated P-78, then redesignated as P-51B. 25 P-51Bs and 275 P-51Cs were given the British designation Mustang III. The California Mustangs were known as the P-51B-NA and the Dallas, Texas facility produced the P-51C-NT. The Merlin-powered P-5lB and its Dallas-built twin, the P-51C, began operations in December 1943. A further improvement to the Mustang was introduced when a graceful teardrop canopy was installed to eliminate the dangerous blind area created by the faired cockpit. First tested on two P-51Bs, they became standard on the P-51D and all later models. 280 P-51Ds were given the RAF designation Mustang IV. The P-51D became the version produced in the greatest quantities, 7,954 being completed. The P-51D model carried six .50 cal. machine guns instead of the four mounted in the P-51Bs. Other refinements, such as moving the wing forward slightly and providing for rocket launchers, were included. The first P-51Ds types were delivered without dorsal fins, but this feature was added to compensate for keel-loss when the bubble canopy was adopted.

Later developments to the P-51 series included the final production type, the P-51H with several changes which made it the fastest production variant with a maximum speed of 487 mph at 25,000 feet. Five hundred fifty-five P-51H's were delivered before VJ Day out of an original order for 1,445 machines.

The P-51D with the dorsal fin, represents the most typical Mustang configuration. It had a 37-foot wingspan with an area of 233 square feet and was 32 feet 3 inches long. Height was 13 feet 8 inches. The Packard-built Merlin V-1650-7 was capable of delivering 1,695 hp which provided a speed of 437 mph at 25,000 feet. Weights were 7,125 lbs. empty and 10,100 lbs. normal gross, but an additional 2,000 lbs. could be carried. Internal fuel capacity was 105 gallons, giving a range of 950 miles at 362 miles per hour at 25,000 feet. Armament was six .50 cal. wing-mounted machine guns with a total of 1,880 rounds.

To say the Merlin Mustangs were successful would be an understatement. The P-51 became one of the aviation world's elite. The total number of 14,819 Mustangs of all types were built for the Army. American Mustangs destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in Europe to make them the highest scoring US fighter in the theater. They were used as dive-bombers, bomber escorts, ground-attackers, interceptors, for photo-recon missions, trainers, transports (with a jump-seat), and after the war, high performance racers.