P-51 Mustang as a carrier-borne fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Pong, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Pong

    Pong Active Member

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    Hi all.

    I just read a Wikipedia Article about the P-51 and about experimental flights of the Mustang. One thing I was interested in was the Mustang taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier. I'd like to find out more info on this and if there were other Mustangs modified to take off from a carrier, and if possible photos of the 'navalized' aircraft.

    Thanks.

    -Arlo
     
  2. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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  3. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I don't believe there was any such thing as a truly navalised P51. A P51 was fitted with a tail hook and was successfully landed and taken off from a carrier but it's handling qualities at slow speeds were not considered adequate for long term use. The navy was probably leary of the P51 because of the liquid cooled engine. A truly navalised P51 would have had to have a number of modifications including a lot of anti-corrosion measures. I have read that the surface of a laminar flow wing was critical as to smoothness. I wonder if that would have been a factor in the use of a Navy Mustang?
     
  4. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    As great as the Mustang was, navalizing it would have changed it into a different plane altogether.

    Two aspects of the plane which make it great would be changed drastically.

    1) Its lightweight structure. It was perfect for land based operation, and surprisingly strong and tolerant of battle damage and rough landings. But it would never hold up for long enough as a ship borne fighter. The wing inner structure, engine mounting, main airframe , and tail wheel / hook area all would have to be totally reworked = more weight.

    2) The beautiful wing. The wing, if kept laminar, would likely need to have more area for better low speed control. It may have had to been thicker too, allowing for the heavier built internal structures. All of this would have added, again more weight, and more drag.

    Not saying that this above "Seastang" wouldn't be a knockout carrier plane, but it would be a different plane than the Mustang.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Disagreement on #1:
    The only lightweight version of P-51 that was produced in numbers was the -H.
    The As, Bs, Cs Ds were to be better naval fighters then eg. Seafires.

    Sure enough, F4U beats them by a nice margin :)
     
  6. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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  7. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    The H was a lightweight, of an already lightweight. The Mustang airframe structure is not as robust as other American land based aircraft, let alone carrier aircraft.

    The navalizedl Spitfire (Seafire) is exactly my point. Superb land based plane that is not built for the rigors of carrier work.
     
  8. Pong

    Pong Active Member

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    Great point Mike. The airframe of the 'Stang wouldn't withstand the shock of a hard carrier landing, and the airframe would have sustained some damage.

    Anyway, thanks for the info guys.

    -Arlo
     
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