The Legend Lives On. A Historical Heritage.

P-51D Cadillac of the Skies
The P-51D Mustang was born out of a necessity to change and adapt the design, during an ongoing conflict, with feedback from pilots, which lead to the definitive variant. The P-51B/C & Mustang III had limited rear visibility, this was helped somewhat with the introduction of the Malcolm Hood, but a better all round view was desired and the rear fuselage was cut down and the 'bubble' canopy added.

Lowering the profile of the fuselage lowered the longitudinal stability, So a fuselage-to-fin fillet was added to improve handling. Firepower was increased wth the addition of another pair of 0.5 in (12.7 mm) machine guns on each wing; the inner two having 400 rounds and the outer 270. Rockets were also added with pylons under each wing to enable up to 10 rockets to be carried.

The P-51D incorporated a new K-14 gunsight, to help improve accuracy. The powerplant featured a Merlin-powered variant; the V-1650, derived from the Packard/Merlin. The P-51D was manufactured in two major batches as P-51D-NA (of which 6,502 were produced from Block 1 through to 30 with new bubble canopy) and P-51D-NT (of which 1,454 were produced from Block 5 to 30).

The reconnaissance versions were designated; F-6D and F-6K and the Royal Air Force went from the high-backed Mustang III to the new Bubble canopied Mustang Mk.IV's. The P-51D’s range was now 2,055m (due to the massive fuel capacity of 1,000 litres internally and 815 litres in drop tanks). Maximum speed topped 437mph at 25,000 feet, and maximum diving speed could reach 505mph with a service ceiling of 41,900 feet.

The P-51D and P-51K Designations were laterly applied as P-51D for the Inglewood production and P-51K for the Dallas production, the K-type also had the Aeroproducts propeller. After 1'500 produced K-models at Dallas, the installation of Aeroproducts propellers was discontinued, reverting to the Hamilton Standard unit, which also changed in appearance to the flatter tip type.

Dallas-built Mustangs resumed production as D-models with the NT-suffix, while the Inglewood models had the NA-suffix. 9’602 examples were built, the first examples arriving in England during May 1944. Production continued into the 2nd half of 1945, the last models coming from the line being P-51D-30-NA's.

One of the highest honors accorded to the Mustang was its rating in 1944 by the Truman Senate War Investigating Committee as "the most aerodynamically perfect pursuit plane in existence."
Warbirdsim’s aim has always been to provide the most concise collection of variants and with the introduction of this new and comprehensive series, every pilot will be able to fly the entire history of the one of the finest fighters ever produced.

The image above shows the prototype. A stock B model pulled off the line and cut into to produce the now familiar lines of the D model. Of note though is that the wing is still very much that of the standard B model and as such has a narrower chord at the wing root.

P-51B/C & Mustang III

The P-51 story starts back in 1940 when the British Purchasing comimision asked North American to build some P-40's under licence. North American didn't like this idea and instead talked them instead into the idea for a new fighter powered by the highly succesful Alison V-1710 and the NA-73 was born. Ten months later it was flown and the Mustang was on its way...
After service with the both Britain and the United States, the aeroplane was in need of a more efficient powerplant to replace the Allison V1710 and to deliver more power at higher altitudes...

A new powerplant?

The Merlin engine was in abundance, being used by a wide variety of allied fighters and bombers and it had the performance needed for the P-51.

The two stage supercharger, would give the much needed boost for high altitude operations.

On both sides of the atlantic, the P-51airframe was being fitted with the Merlin engine.

In England a Mustang I was mated to a Merlin 65 and the carburetor scoop was incorporated in the lower cowl. This gave a much deeper and unattractive nose. This new aeroplane was called the Mustang X. At North American a Mustang was being fitted with a Packard built V-1650-3 Merlin, with the far more attractive outline and what was to become the layout chosen for production. Further refinements were made to the radiator and to the scoop leading to the first flight of the production B model in May 1943....

North American's Prototype XP-51B. Noticable are the short radiator scoop and the early type exaust paneling. The overall shape is now nearly the classic P-51 Mustang, but further refinements were carried out before the final production B model was ready.

Compare this side view of a factory fresh P-51B to the image of the prototype above and you can see that the aeroplane has been cleaned up and is now the classic Mustang outline. This aircraft has been modelled by Warbirdsim in the release and the original aeroplane was subsequently destroyed in a mission over China.

P51B's and P51C's accounted for 3740 of the 15470 Mustangs built. They were still used exstensively when the P-51D model arrived in Mid 1944 and saw action right up to the end of the war.

A little bit on the history of some of the Warbirdsim Pilots and Mustangs

'Ding Hao', P-51B

Lt. Col. James Howard, the only pilot associated with the Eigth Air Force to win the Congressional Medal of Honor, he single-handedly defended a formation of B-17 bombers from the 401st Bomb Group against an estimated 30-40 German fighters northwest of Halberstadt, Germany.
P-51B 'Ding Hao!' AJ-A (36315), was his aircraft when he was Commanding Officer of the 354th Fighter Group, based at Martlesham Heath, UK.

There were two aircraft that wore the 'Ding Hao' colours, but the first aircarft was lost. This later machine became the famous mount of his and eventually was fitted with the Malcolm Hood. He flew with the American Fighter Group, known as the "Flying Tigers", in China until the unit disbanded on July 4, 1942, and then he joined the 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, 9th USAAF. While he was with the Flying Tigers, he was credited with 2.33 air-to-air and four air-to-ground victories, and his total of 8.33 air-to-air made him an Ace.

'Factory Fresh' P-51B - 37116

At this stage the only details we have on this aircraft are that it was lost in action over China with the 23rd Fighter Group.

'Princess Elizabeth', P-51B & C (Original aircraft was a 'B' Model, our restored example is a 'C' Model)

Pilot William Whisner, P-51B of the 'Blue Nosers of Bodney', Norfolk, UK. Eventually lost while being flown by fellow pilot, Robert Butler. On his way back from from a mission escorting bomb laden P-38s on D-Day, he spotted a very inviting looking locomotive sitting in a valley. When they approached, the sides opened to reveal 'Flak Waggons' who wasted no time in opening fire on the Mustangs approaching. 'Elizabeth' was hit bad enough to cause a dead stick crash landing into the railroad itself, its last act of aggression.
Our Aeroplane is painted to represent an existing Warbird now operating in the United States. It is not a true P-51C, in that the fuselage was from a P-51D from Israel, it was modified and Pete Regina mated a P-51B wing to it. After several owners in the 1970's and 80's The Fighter Collection at Duxford, UK, bought the aeroplane and it made its debut at the Flying Legends airshow in 1997. On closer inspection it was decided to opt for a deeper level of rebuild and she was sent back to Fighter Rebuilders at Chino, emerging seven years later as a very authentic restoration. In 2006 she was aquired by Jim Beasley Jr. and has subsequently been sold again

'Ina the Macon Belle', P-51C

Probably the most famous of all the'Tuskegee Airmen'. Lt. Colonel Lee Archer was a member of the 302nd Fighter Squadron, 322nd Fighter Group. On October 12, 1944, he shot down five enemy aircraft, including three ME-109s thus becoming an Ace. He flew various types but the most notable was P-51 number 72, which he named 'Ina the Macon Belle'. He also flew combat missions in the Korean War and eventually retired from the United States Air Force after 29 years of service.
In April 2001, Kermit Weeks' P-51C-10-NT Mustang arrived back at the Fantasy of Flight,Florida after a total refurbishment by Art Teeter and his crew at Cal-Pacific Airmotive in Salinas, California. Dallas Built in 1942, (manufacturer's number 103-26385), the aeroplane was given serial No. USAAF S/N 42-103831. Paul Mantz aquired her in 1946, and it became famous when Thomas Mayson flew it to third place in the Bendix Trophy Races. It has since won the Grand Champion Warbird at 'Sun 'n' Fun'. The Warbirdsim aeroplane is finished as Kermit's restored example.

Shangri-La, P-51B

Surely the most evocative of all Mustang schemes and certainly the most modelled. 'Shangri-La' was very badly damaged following beat up as can be seen in the image below. Dominic 'Don' Gentile first learned to fly as a teenager but was actualy rejected by the USAAC in peacetime.
After first enlisting with th RCAF on Sept. 1940, he moved to the American Volunteer's 133 "Eagle" Sq., RAF and flying the Spitfire V over Dieppe, Aug. 19, 1942, had his first victory and British and subsequent DFC. In March 1944, he scored 15.5 kills in the P-51B Mustang, half of all claims for that month! He returned to the USA on April 28, 1944 and after some fundraising tours took up the post of Test Pilot at Wright-Patterson AFB. He retired from active service in April 1946, but re-entered a fledgling USAF in 1947. He died following an accident in a T-33 on January 20, 1951.

'Old Crow', P-51B, Malcolm Hood

This Warbirdsim aeroplane is probably one of the most famous of the colour schemes along with 'Shangri-La'.
P-51B Old Crow was Colonel Clarence. E. Bud Anderson's first Mustang and was seen in various guises, as were many Mustangs. Overall Olive drab and laterly to wear
D-Day stripes and be fitted with the Malcolm Hood. Colonel Anderson is a WW II Triple Ace Fighter pilot and a veteran military experimental test pilot. He flew 116 combat missions (480 hours) and destroyed 16.25 enemy aircraft in aerial combat and another one on the ground. He has an extensive flight-testing background spanning a 25-year period.

During WW II, he served two combat tours escorting heavy bombers over Europe in the P-51 Mustang from November, 1943, through January, 1945. He gained his private pilot’s license at 19 years of age in 1941. In January, 1942, he entered the US Army Aviation Cadet Program, receiving his wings and commission in September, 1942. Col. Anderson wrote an autobiography with another author, which has been described by the Historian of the Air Force as "the finest pilot memories of WW II". In this book titled To Fly And Fight, Gen. Chuck Yeager describes Col. Anderson as "a mongoose,…the best fighter pilot I’ve ever seen". Col. Anderson is still a very active pilot, maintaining his Flight Instructor rating and flying P-51s. Lecturing on his flying experiences, he has consulted on Flight Simulator Software, and writes articles for aviation magazines.

Polish 133 Wing, RAF Mustang III - Malcolm Hood

Eugeniusz Horbaczewski's Mustang, FB-382, Called "Skalski's Circus", named after its leader Stanlislaw Skalski, the Polish manned 133 Wing was one of the most noteworthy of the RAF Mustang Squadrons of WWII. One of the most outstanding pilots within the group, Eugeniusz Horbaczewski, led a storied service career during the war. Among his many exploits, Horbaczewski racked up 16 confirmed kills, and on one occasion even landed his Mustang in enemy territory to save a fellow pilot, Sgt. Tamowicz, who crash landed after being brought down by enemy fire. Unfortunately Horbaczewski was killed in combat on August 18, 1944, while on a fighter sweep mission with eleven other Mustangs, which engaged sixty Fw-190s. Within this dogfight, Horbaczewski shot down three Focke Wulfs before he was shot down himself. This particular engagement resulted in Horbaczewski's squadron, 315, to be credited with the highest number of kills scored by an RAF squadron in a single sortie.
More details and images will be published when the aircraft is ready.

It is though that this is Flt. Lt. Raymond Vincent Hearn's, Mustang III, No.112 Squadron, He flew two operational tours with 112 Sqn. Leader of B Flight, he was assigned letter "Q" on his aircraft. He shot down a Ju 88 on 9 September 1944 in this aeroplane. He himself was shot down and died on his last sortie on 18 February 1945. in a Malcom hood fitted Mustang Mk IV, as a mark of respect, the letter "Q" was not used again.

About to take off for another sortie, Lt. Clarence E. Sullivan's P-51B-10-NA Mustang 'Sleepytime Gal' of the 376th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, based at Bottisham Airfield, Cambridgeshire, UK

P-51C-10-NT 'Dody' From the 2nd Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group, 15th Air Force, Madna, Italy, 1944. Serial number QP-S (43-23133) Flown by Capt. Hans Zachmann.

The Arrival of Dorsal Fin Fillets

One of the most long-lived myths regarding the dorsal fin fillet on the Mustang, is that it was strictly added as a result of loss of side area when the P-51D bubble canopy configuration replaced the high-back profile of the P-51B/C's. In actuality, the same tech order which required the addition of the dorsal fin fillet to the early P-51D-5-NA, also states that the fillet is required to be added to the P-51B/C's. The reasons governing this decision were exactly the same - to prevent yawing conditions, at high speed, which were known to cause catastrophic failure of the horizontal stabilizer on all Merlin-powered Mustangs then in service.

As far as research can tell, all P-51B's (from Inglewood) were delivered without dorsal fin fillets, and thus according to the technical order, were required to receive a field retrofit. Some P-51C's on the other hand, likely did receive the retrofit while in production (in Dallas), but the vast majority, like the B models, only received the dorsal fin fillet, while in their respective fields of operation.

Also, contrary to popular belief, the dorsal fin fillet design, used on the P-51B/C's, was not the same design as incorporated into production P-51D/K's. The fillet used on the B/C airframes, is noticeably curved along the top edge (the D/K’s being straight), and terminates several inches farther forward along the aircraft's spine, than the D/K model's.

Through the details of the tech order, not only was the addition of the dorsal fin fillet required, but in the same process, so was the modification of turning the rudder trim tab into a de-boost tab, minimizing the possibility for the pilot to push the rudder too far, too quickly, at a great amount of speed. The de-boost tab worked by counteracting the movement of the rudder, requiring much more foot pressure, at speed, to yaw the aircraft in either direction.

More information pertaining to the reasoning behind the dorsal fin fillet retrofit, can be found in the following quote, from “Flight Measurements of the Directional Stability and Trim on the Mustang III with Various Modifications to improve the Directional stability”...

"The introduction of a more powerful engine and a four-bladed propeller to the Mustang aircraft (the resulting type being known as the Mustang III or P51-B) gave rise to serious changes in directional trim and stability as compared with the original Mk. I or P51-A; in particular the forces to produce sideslip were reduced to very small values especially at high speed, where dangerously large angles of sideslip could be induced for small pedal forces. Several accidents involving structural failure of Mk.III tailplanes were attributed to the asymmetric tailplane loading when the aircraft had been inadvertently yawed due to these small pedal forces. Consequently N.A.A. introduced a retrospective modification consisting of a small dorsal fin and geared antibalance tab on the rudder. Flight tests of this installation were undertaken both in America, by N.A.A., and in this country, by R.A.E."