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Home Base: Conroe, TX
Operation: Central and Eastern USA
Model: P-51D-30NT
Wing Span:
37' 0"
Length: 32' 2"
Height: 13' 8"
Max Speed: 505 mph
Gross Weight: 10,500 lbs
Power Plant: Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650-7
Horsepower: 1,490
Fuel Capacity: 269 gallons
Armament: 6 x .50 caliber machine guns

Tom Ball's N.A. P-51D Mustang "Shangrila"

Tom Ball
is the owner and operator of this beautiful North American P-51D Mustang "Shangrila" (S/N 45-11540), which is available for airshows, flybys and film.

The P-51 was designed and built by North American Aviation after the British government approached them to build P-40 Warhawks under license. North American believed they could design a better fighter, and the British government gave them 120 days to prove it. 102 days after the order was placed, the first Mustang was completed, flying for the first time on October 26, 1940. The prototype and subsequent P-51A utilized the Allison V-1710 liquid cooled engine. Lacking an effective engine supercharger, the Allison provided insufficient power for the high-altitude environment the P-51 was designed to operate in. By replacing the Allison engine with a Rolls-Royce V-1650 Merlin engine that had a two-stage supercharger, the necessary power and performance was gained. The Merlin engine, which was built in the U.S. under license by the Packard Motor Car Company, was installed in all further P-51 models from the “B” through the “H” versions.

The P-51 was the United States supreme air-superiority fighter in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) during WWII. It served as a fighter-interceptor, Bomber-escort and fighter-bomber. With the powerful Merlin engine and droppable fuel tanks, the Mustang was able to penetrate deep into German territory where no previous Allied fighter had been able to go. The P-51 could escort bombers to all but the deepest targets inside Germany. With a fighter escort, fewer bombers were lost to the Luftwaffe’s fighters. Reichmarschall Hermann Goering, Supreme Commander of the Luftwaffe said “ When I saw Mustangs over Berlin. I knew the war was lost.”

The P-51 was considered by many to be the finest fighter that the U.S. produced and flew in WWII accounted for almost half the enemy aircraft destroyed in Europe by U.S. fighters. The Mustang was equipped with six .50 caliber machine guns and incorporated the advanced K-14 lead computing gun sight. The unmistakable scoop on the underside of the Mustang is the air inlet for the coolant radiator and oil cooler.

A combined total of over 15,500 Mustangs were produced. The greatest number of Mustangs were built as the “D” model, with over 8,000 built. Today less than 150 Mustangs remain flyable or restorable to flying condition.

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