North American Mustang Mk.1

Shown here is Mustang Mk.1 (AG345) undergoing flight testing.

North American Mustang Mk.1
Administrator, Mar 25, 2006
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      The North American P51 Mustang originated from a request made by the British Air Purchasing committee to the North American Aircraft Corporation in April 1940. The Committee wanted the corporation to build the Curtis Hawk 87A-1, But North America's President J.H.Kindelberger suggested that his company should produce an entirely new fighter. The British committee agreed provided that the new aircraft was constructed within 120 days. The first prototype was wheeled out of the factory after 117 days. It had no engine and the wheels had been borrowed from a Trainer, but they had beaten the deadline.

      The first British Squadron to receive the Mustang was No.2 Squadron RAF. Fitted with the F.24 camera the Mustangs were initially employed on Photographic Reconnaissance missions commencing on the 27th July 1942. The pilots were given strict instructions not to get involved in combat with enemy aircraft but to take their photographs and then use their superior speed to escape.

      The first `Kill' was achieved on the 19th of August 1942 when Pilot Officer Hollis H. Hills of No. 414 squadron Royal Canadian Air Force shot down a German Focke-Wolf FW190.

      The early Allison engine powered Mustangs were soon found to be inferior to other fighters at altitude. To remedy this the Royal Air Force sent four machines to Rolls Royce to be fitted with Merlin Engines. One unusual idea by Rolls Royce was a proposal to fit the Merlin engine BEHIND the cockpit.
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    Mar 25, 2006
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