Aviation and history enthusiasts are probably well aware of the P-51 Mustang, known as one of the most famous fighter planes from World War II. In this article we’ll discuss the history of this incredible aircraft including what makes it so special, and share where you can see one today. For any questions please contact our team at Monmouth Jet Center.
History of the P-51 Mustang
In the late 1930’s when war was looking increasingly likely in Europe, the British Royal Air Force needed to enhance the strength of its fighter fleet. Looking to North American Aviation to develop something groundbreaking. On October 26, 1940, infamous test pilot Vance Breese flew the first P-51 prototype and reached an incredible speed of 382 miles per hour, which outperformed the Spitfire. And on that day the P-51 Mustang was born.
How Many Exist Today?
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. Because the P-51 Mustang is considered such a crucial piece of flight history, many of the surviving aircraft are on display in museums or via private collectors. They are incredibly valuable and a very special piece of American history. If you’re ever presented with the chance to see one in person, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity!
What Makes the P-51 Mustang So Special?
- The aircraft achieved speeds of over 400 miles per hour, much faster than any existing aircraft at that time.
- Its low-cost, long-range, and high speeds made it the ideal aircraft to escort bombers in and out of Germany, while also wrestling with German fighters who attempted to attack the bombers.
- It could carry 1,000 pounds of cargo, enabling it to also act as a fighter.
Where to find a P-51 Mustang today
As mentioned above, there are around 150 surviving P-51 Mustang aircraft around the world today. Some are on display in aviation museums in countries including Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, The Philippines, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Privately owned P-51 Mustangs are sometimes featured at local and national airshows, giving audiences a rare chance to see one of the most iconic aircraft in aviation history, and to see one in flight is truly a memory to be treasured.
For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact our team at Monmouth Jet Center today. We look forward to hearing from you.