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Home Base: Kissimmee, FL
Operation: Central and Eastern USA
Model: P-51D
Wing Span:
33' 0"
Length: 32' 2"
Height: 13' 7"
Max Speed: 505 mph
Gross Weight: 9,000 lbs
Power Plant: Rolls-Royce Griffin 58
Horsepower: 3,000
Fuel Capacity: 180 gallons
Armament: none

Mustang 51, LLC P-51D Mustang "Precious Metal"

Mustang 51, LLC
is the owner and operator of this highly modified North American P-51D Mustang "Precious Metal" (S/N: 44-73518), which is available for airshows, flybys and film and is also a regular unlimited racer at the Reno National Championship Air Races.

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.

Once owned by the Whittington brothers and it was named "Precious Metal" and sponsored by World Jet. The fuselage is polished aluminum, and the wings are lime green. The power plant is a Roll-Royce Griffon turning contra-rotating props. If you look closely, you'll notice that the second set of props are chopped shorter than the front ones. Also of note is the smooth finish of the wings. Nothing protruding to effect the smooth air flow.

Precious Metal is the world's only Griffon powered P-51 Mustang. It started life as a P-51D, but with a clipped wing, Griffon power-plant, race canopy and H-tail, it's a very purpose built machine. It is flown by Thom Richard and will be a common sight at the air races and airshows throughout the coming years.

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