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P-51 Mustang Fighter - Palm Springs
Palm Springs Air Museum visit November, 2008

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North American P-51D Mustang

P-51D Mustang, Palm Springs Air Museum - California

According to information on the display sign, this Mustang pursuit fighter is from the Robert J. Pond collection. It was delivered to the U.S. Army in June 1945 and served initially with the 31st Fighter Squadron, Continental Force. In 1951 it was transferred to the 131st Fighter Bomber Wing, Strategic Air Command.

The principal manufacturer of the Mustang was North American Aviation Inc. Inglewood, California and Dallas, Texas. Approximately 16,000 P-51s of various models were built during WWII, and the cost per aircraft was about $60,000.

P-51 is read as follows: "P" designates a pursuit aircraft and "51" designates the 51st pursuit fighter aircraft designed and built for the USAAF. The P-51A was initially powered by the 1200 hp Allison Vee engine and the P-51D mainly used the Packard built British Rolls Royce Merlin 1500 hp engine. The final engines used were the Rolls Royce 1740 hp Dart and the 2435 hp Lycoming engines. The wing span of the aircraft is approximately 40 feet. It typically had wing racks for fuel tanks or two 1,000 pound bombs.

P-51 Mustang, Palm Springs Air Museum - California

According to the display sign, “P-51Ds were used as fighter escorts for Eighth Air Force bombers into the heart of Germany and beyond. P-51s with the Mediterranean Strategic Air Force based in Italy flew day time bombing missions over Germany, Austria and Hungary, including Ploesti and Schweinfurt.

The P-51 flew full escort on shuttle runs to Russia, bombing targets in Hungary on the way in and targets in Romania on the way back. Before the invasion of Normandy, P-51s also made their mark in the Pacific, strafing and bombing Japanese targets throughout the Pacific, including the Japanese homeland itself.” Photo above and to the right is courtesy of the Palm Springs Air Museum.

Also see on our website

P-51 Mustang - American Aircraft
P-51 Mustangs - Palm Springs Air
TF-51 trainer Friendly Ghost - War Eagles



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