P-51D “Mustang” Replica

BY NORTH AMERICAN

The P-51 was designed as the NA-73 in 1940 at Britain’s request. The design showed promise and the Army Air Forces (AAF) purchases of Allison-powered Mustangs began in 1941, primarily for photo recon and ground support use due to its limited high-altitude performance. But in 1942, tests of P-51s using the British Rolls-Royce “Merlin” engine revealed much improved speed and service ceiling, and in December 1943, Merlin-powered P-51Bs first entered combat in Europe. Providing high-altitude escort of B-17s and B-24s, they scored heavily over German interceptors and by the war’s end, P-51s had destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air, more than any other AAF fighter in Europe.

During World War II Robins was responsible for logistics support and depot repairs on all P-51s in the Southeast. The aircraft on display is a replica made up of components of several different aircraft and was assembled as an exhibit with the help of the Eastman Heart of Georgia Vocational School. Its markings are those of the aircraft flown by Wallace E. Hopkins of Washington, Georgia, when he was deputy commander of the 361st Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, in England during World War II.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Span: 37 ft.
Length: 32 ft. 3 in.
Height: 13 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 12,100 lbs. max.
Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns and ten 5-in. rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs
Engine: Packard built Rolls-Royce “Merlin” V-1650 of 1,650 hp.
Serial Number: Replica

PERFORMANCE:
Maximum speed: 437 mph.
Cruising speed: 275 mph.
Range: 1,000 miles
Service ceiling: 41,900 ft.