North American P-51 Mustang. Photo. Characteristics.
North American P-51 Mustang. Photo. Characteristics.

North American P-51 Mustang. Photo. Characteristics. 



A type: single-engine fighter

Crew: one pilot

As explained in detail in the previous article, the performance of the Mustang I aircraft fell at high altitudes, in which aerial battles were fought in Europe. Nevertheless, the glider itself was beautiful, so the Royal Air Force quickly began to search for a new power plant and soon found the engine "Merlin" 61.

With the acquisition of this engine, the aircraft's flight characteristics became striking - an official announcement of this discovery was immediately sent to North America, and the rest - history. The manufacturer of Packard cars was given the right to produce Merlin engines under the designation V-1650, and North America followed the British pioneers, equipping the R-51 aircraft with a "new" powerplant. With the Merlin engine, the R-51V aircraft entered battle in Europe in December 1943, when the over-praised campaign of day bombing began to stumble due to incredible losses. It was then that her "knight in radiant armor" appeared, capable of escorting B-17 and B-24 bombers during their risky operations. During the next 19 months of the war in Europe, the Mustang aircraft steadily became the predominant fighter of the US Air Force, the Royal Air Force also took over more than 1000 Mustang aircraft equipped with the Merlin engine in Lend-Lease.


In total in North America, more than 14 819 R-51 aircraft plus 200 were produced - under license in Australia. The fighter remained in operation in the front-line aviation of the US Air Force until the beginning of the 1950-ies, and then abroad, in Central and South America - until the 1970-ies. Today, more than 160 Mustang aircraft remain in airworthiness, most of them are based in the US.

Basic data


Length: 9,81 m

Wingspan: 11,29 m

Height: 4,1 m


The weight:

Empty: 3230 kg

Maximum takeoff: 5260 kg

Aircraft performance:

Maximum speed: 703 km / h

Flight range: 2092 km


Power point: engines of the Packard company: V-1650-3 (aka Merlin 61 of the Rolls-Royce company), V-1650-7 (on P-51D modifications), V-1650-9 (on P-51H modifications )

Power: 1520 l. from. (1133,92 kW), 1590 l. from. (1186,14 kW) and 2218 l. from. (1654,62 kW), respectively

Date of first flight:

October 13, 1942


The surviving airworthy modifications:

· P-51C / D / K, TF-51D, ETF-51D, RB-51, F-6K, Kavalir, CA-17 / -18 (Australian built)