North American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'


North American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'In 1938 the British government investigated the possibility of buying fighter aircraft in the USA and aquired the Harvard trainer from North American Aviation, at the same time asking if they would consider making the Curtiss P-40 to augment output for Britain. Instead NAA set out to build the totally new NA-73 aircraft which later became known as the P-51 'Mustang'. The 1944-45 production series differed greatly from the initial series, both technically and esthetically. In modifying the airframe to replace the Allison engine by a Rolls-Royce 60-series 'Merlin', the appearance changed drastically to the now so well known silhouette though it no longer had the sleek fuselage of before. Nevertheless the 'Merlin' made the Mustang the most versatile fighter performing superbly at all altitudes. The Spitfire and the Hurricane took care that WW-II was not lost but the Mustang made sure that it was won. After the end of hostilities Mustangs were used by a wide variety of air forces and later by private owners as air racers and and as their personal toys. Nowadays Mustangs are treasured around the world by museums and operators of historic aircraft.


Span: 37 ft. 0 in.
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 1,695 hp

Wing fuel capacity: 184 U.S gall. - 153 Imp.gall. - 696 Ltr.
Max. fuel capacity: 419 U.S.gall - 348 Imp.gall - 1586 Ltr.
( 2 Wing, Center and 2 Droptanks.)

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

Packard V-1650-7 Rolls_Royce "Merlin" engineNorth American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'
The Mustang was first flown in 1940 with an Allison V-1710 engine, which, although satisfactory at lower altitude, was less than efficient above 15,000 feet due to its single-stage super-charger.

Installing a two-stage Merlin engine in the airframe during 1942 proved a winning combination, and this transformation turned the fighter into one that could equal or outperform any other aeroplane in the sky at the time.

The V-1650 liquid-cooled engine was the U.S. version of the famous British Rolls-Royce "Merlin" engine which powered the "Spitfire" and "Hurricane" fighters during the Battle of Britain in 1940. In Sept.1940, the Packard Co. agreed to build the Merlin engine for both the American and the British Governments, and adapted it for American mass-production methods.

The first two Packard-built Merlins to be completed were demonstrated on test stands at a special ceremony at the Packard plant in Detroit on August 2, 1941. Full production began in 1942 and by the end of World War II, 55,873 Merlins had been produced in the U.S.A.

The Early Birds' P-51D 'Mustang'
The Early Birds' Mustang P-51D-30NA bears the US-registration N6395 though it has quite a history which is shown below.' It was built in 1944 with construction number 122-41463 and was given serial number 44-74923. Until 1963 it was operated by the US Air Force before going into private ownership. Successively it had the civil registrations N5438V, N132, N100DD, N345 and N6395.
Since 1995 the Mustang is part of the Early Birds Foundation historical collection. Shipped from Kissimmee, Florida USA, to The Netherlands in a sea container it was first transported to KLM, the national airline's hangars to be stripped of its paint. The job cost Early Birds' staff many drops of sweat since, as the aircraft was last used as an air racer, the rivets and bolts on the entire fuselage were hidden under a layer of filler and primer. To wrench out the last inch of speed the craft had to be as smooth as possible. Its present silver colour was then applied by professional KLM staff. Subsequently the plane was brought to Lelystad where it 'slept' under its dust-covers until November 2004. Since December 2004 the Mustang restoration team is waking the Mustang from its long dormant state. This will take a lot of time and a lot of combined energy but the team is enthousiastic. Over the past months hundreds of small and large bits and pieces have been checked and restored to their original condition, a process which is carefully documented in Technical Manuals. The Merlin engine is in excellent condition.The propeller has been overhauled, as are magnetos and carburettor. Assembly of fuselage and wing section will follow later. As the plane will need considerable room when put together the team will postpone assembly until all other work has been completed. In onderstaande fotogalerij is de voortgang van de montage te zien. The tailsections have been fixed to the fuselage and the assembly of the cockpit and instrument panel is progressing steadily. Barring unforeseen delays assembly will be finalised by late 2008 and flighttesting will take place afterwards.

Our Mustang is equipped with an AEROPRODUCTS PROPELLOR
Click here for more information on this propellor (pdf).

Colour scheme
The decisive factor for choosing this colour scheme lies in the fact that the Mustang was developed and built in the USA in particular for the liberation of Europe. The restoration team cast its vote forthe livery of the 357th Fighter Group. This FG became operational on the 11th of February 1944 and flew 313 missions over The Netherlands to Germany until 25th of April 1945. In total 595 enemy aircraft were shot down and 1,095 destroyed on the ground. 357th Fighter Group produced 43 Aces.

Good enough reasons and recognition to those involved to choose for the 357th Fighter Group's colour scheme. The Mustang team singled out one particular aircraft of the 364 Fighter Sqaudron, part of the 357th Fighter Group, flown by Capt. Robert P. Winks, Pilot /Ace. His aircraft bore the name TRUSTY RUSTY.

Click here to see the biography of Capt Robert P. Winks, Pilot/Ace.

North American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'

Capt Robert P. Winks with his P51-D

North American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'

Capt Robert P. Winks with model Trusty Rusty

Decoding the colours on the aircraft illustration below

Aircraft operating from England during World War II were officially assigned a colour scheme and identification. Each unit had its own distinctive colours and lettering, depending on its home base. The Early Birds Mustang has the following identifying marks:
Yellow spinner and checkered red and yellow band on cowling indicate the aircraft belonging to the 357th Fighter Group. 364 Fighter Squadron's planes had a yellow rudder and the letter combination C5, the squadron identification. The single character W is the aircraft code (often the pilot's initial). The plane's serial number is on the stabilizer and rudder.

North American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'

Order of battle of USAAF 8th Air Force, UK, 1944. 1st Air Division 67th Fighter Wing

Group Squadron Ident Cowling Spinner Tailplane Base
357FG 364FS C5-W Checkered band Red and yellow Red and Yellow yellow Leiston

All aircraft were thus marked and coded in order to distinguish them by home base and pilot.

North American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'North American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'North American P-51D (K) 'Mustang'foto2

History of EB-Mustang's military and civil career

Sept 1947
Dec 1947

Nov 1948
May 1951
Dec 1952
Dec 1953
May 1954
Oct 1956
Sept 1957

July 1969



Aug 1988
Mar 1995

Dec 2004
Manufactured as P51D by North American Aviation, Inglewood CA.
To 4126th AAF Base Unit (San Bernardino Air Depot), San Bernardino AAF CA.
To 4121th AF Base Unit (San Antonio Air Materiel Center), Kelly AF TX.
To 27th Fighter Group (Strategic Air Command), Kearney AFB NE.
(designated F-51D)
To 188th Fighter Squadron (Air National Guard), Kirtland AFB NM.
Unit assigned to Air Defense Command, Long Beach AFB CA.
To 4750th Training Group (ADC), Yuma AFB AZ.
To 133rd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (ANG), Grenier AFB NH.
To 168th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (ANG), Chicago-O'Hara IAP IL.
To Sacramento Air Materiel Area, McClellan AFB CA.
Dropped from inventory as surplus.
Joe K, Hammer/Hammer Cropdusters Inc, Sacramento California.
- Registration N5438V.
J.J. Wolohan, Livingston, CA
Walter M. Fountain/Hawke Dusters, Modesto, CA,
Delivered to FA Salvadorena Air Force as FAS 410
- Adopted I.D. 44-11353 on return to USA
Donald R. Anderson, Saugus, CA
- Registered as N132
- Registered as N100DD
- Rebuilt by Dave Clinton & Don Anderson
John R. Sandberg, Robstown, TX
- Flew as race #28/"Tipsy Too"
Gary R. Levitz, Dallas, TX, Oct
- Registered as N345
- Flew as race #38/"Miss Ashley"
Shelly R. Levitz, Phoenix, AZ
- Registered as N6395
-- Crated at Kissimmee, FL. Shipped to The Netherlands
Early Birds Collection, Lelystad
- Start reassembly by Early Birds
- Dutch registration PH-???

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