Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in the United States of America, North American P-51H, P-51K, F-6D, F-6K, and Cavalier Mustangs

Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in the United States of America, North American P-51H, P-51K, F-6D, F-6K, 

and Cavalier Mustangs

Data Current to 8 Feb 2019.

Therer are more than 20 different variants of the North American P-51 Mustang.  Private owners have modified many of these aircraft to perform as air racers, and others have been restored or modified to conform to specific configurations for performance purposes.

Following combat experience the P-51D series introduced a "teardrop", or "bubble", canopy to rectify problems with poor visibility to the rear of the aircraft.  A new simpler style of windscreen, with an angled bullet-resistant windscreen mounted on two flat side pieces improved the forward view while the new canopy resulted in exceptional all-round visibility. 

The new model Mustang also had a redesigned wing; alterations to the undercarriage up-locks and inner-door retracting mechanisms meant that there was an additional fillet added forward of each of the wheel bays, increasing the wing area and creating a distinctive "kink" at the wing root's leading edges. Most significant was a deepening of the wing to allow the guns to be mounted upright, resulting in a slightly reduced maximum speed compared to P-51B/C variants.  Other alterations to the wings included new navigation lights, mounted on the wingtips, rather than the smaller lights above and below the wings of the earlier Mustangs, and retractable landing lights which were mounted at the back of the wheel wells; these replaced the lights which had been formerly mounted in the wing leading edges.

P-51D and P-51K Mustangs were powered by Packard V-1650-7 engines, which were licence-built versions of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 60 series, fitted with a two-stage, two-speed supercharger.  These Mustangs had their armament increased with the addition of two more .50?in (12.7?mm) AN/M2 "light-barrel" M2 Browning machine guns, bringing the total to six.  The inner pair of machine guns had 400 rpg, and the others had 270 rpg, for a total of 1,880 rounds.  The wing racks fitted to the P-51D/P-51K series were strengthened and were able to carry up to 1,000 lb (450 kg) of ordnance, although 500 lb (230 kg) bombs were the recommended maximum load.  Later models had removable under-wing 'Zero Rail' rocket pylons added to carry up to ten T64 5.0 in (127 mm) H.V.A.R rockets per aircraft.  The gunsight was changed from the N-3B to the N-9 before the introduction in September 1944 of the K-14 or K-14A gyro-computing sight.

P-51Ds without fuselage fuel tanks were fitted with either the SCR-522-A or SCR-274-N Command Radio sets and SCR-695-A, or SCR-515 radio transmitters, as well as an AN/APS-13 rear-warning set; P-51Ds and Ks with fuselage tanks used the SCR-522-A and AN/APS-13 only.  A Dallas-built version of the P-51D, designated the P-51K, was equipped with an 11 ft (3.4 m) diameter Aeroproducts propeller in place of the 11.2 ft (3.4 m) Hamilton Standard propeller.  By the time of the Korean War, most F-51s were equipped with "uncuffed" Hamilton Standard propellers with wider, blunt-tipped blades.

North American F-6D Mustang (Serial No. 45-11660).  (USAAF Photo)

The photo reconnaissance versions of the P-51D and P-51K were designated F-6D and F-6K respectively. The RAF assigned the name Mustang Mk IV to the P-51D model and Mustang Mk IVA to P-51K models.  The P-51D/P-51K started arriving in Europe in mid-1944 and quickly became the primary USAAF fighter in the theatre.

North American F-6K Mustang (Serial No. 44-11937).  (USAAF Photo)

Lightweight X-P-51F, XP-51G and XP-51J Mustangs had a new wing design.  The airfoil was switched to the NACA 66,2-(1.8)15.5 a=.6 at the root and the NACA 66,2-(1.8)12 a=.6 at the tip.  These airfoils were designed to give less drag than the previous NAA/NACA 45-100.  In addition, the planform was a simple trapezoid, with no leading edge extension at the root.  (Wikipedia)

An XP-51F (one of three built) with three-bladed Aeroproducts propeller.  (USAAF Photo)

The designation XP-51F was assigned to prototypes powered with V-1650 engines (a small number were passed to the British as the Mustang V), and XP-51G to those with Merlin RM 14 SMs.  A third lightweight prototype powered by an Allison V-1710-119 was added to the development program.  This aircraft was designated XP-51J.  Since the engine was insufficiently developed, the XP-51J was loaned to Allison for engine development.  None of these experimental lightweights went into production.  (Wikipedia)

North American XP-51F Mustang with three-bladed propeller, RAF (Serial No. FR408).  (RAF Photo)

 (AFHRA Photo)

North American P-51H Mustang (Serial No. 44-64182), ca 1950.

The P-51H (NA-126) was the final production Mustang, embodying the experience gained in the development of the XP-51F and XP-51G aircraft.  This aircraft, with minor differences as the NA-129, came too late to participate in the Second World War, but it brought the development of the Mustang to a peak as one of the fastest production piston-engine fighters to see service.

he P-51H used the new V-1650-9 engine, a version of the Merlin that included Simmons automatic supercharger boost control with water injection, allowing War Emergency Power as high as 2,218 hp (1,500 kW). Differences between the P-51D included lengthening the fuselage and increasing the height of the tailfin, which reduced the tendency to yaw. The canopy resembled the P-51D style, over a raised pilot's position. Service access to the guns and ammunition was also improved. With a new airframe several hundred pounds lighter, extra power, and a more streamlined radiator, the P-51H was faster than the P-51D, able to reach 472 mph (760 km/h; 410 kn) at 21,200 ft (6,500 m).  The P-51H was designed to complement the Republic P-47N Thunderbolt as the primary aircraft for the invasion of Japan, with 2,000 ordered to be manufactured at Inglewood.  Production was just ramping up with 555 delivered when the war ended.

With the end of the war, variants of the P-51H with different versions of the Merlin engine were produced in either limited numbers or terminated.  These included the P-51L, similar to the P-51H but utilizing the 2,270 hp (1,690 kW) V-1650-11 engine, which was never built; and its Dallas-built version, the P-51M, or NA-124, which utilized the V-1650-9A engine lacking water injection and therefore rated for lower maximum power, of which one was built out of the original 1629 ordered, (Serial No. 45-11743).

Although some P-51Hs were issued to operational units, none saw combat in the Second World War, and in postwar service, most were issued to reserve units.  One aircraft was provided to the RAF for testing and evaluation.  (Serial No. 44-64192) was designated (BuNo. 09064) and used by the U.S. Navy to test transonic airfoil designs and then returned to the Air National Guard in 1952.  The P-51H was not used for combat in the Korean War despite its improved handling characteristics, since the P-51D was available in much larger numbers and was a proven commodity.

North American P-51H Mustang (Serial No. 44-64203), is being restored by Mike Coutches, Livermore, California.

 (NASA Photo)

North American P-51H Mustang flown by NACA for flight research during 1945.

 (Bill Larkins Photos)

North American P-51H-10-NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64255), 194th Fighter Squadron, California Air National Guard, 17 Feb 1952.

 (Dsdugan Photo)

North American P-51H-5NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64265), PF-195, "Louisiana Heatwave", Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia.  The Museum of Aviation’s P-51H was delivered to the USAAF in October 1945 and subsequently assigned to Pinecastle Army air Field (AAF), Florida.  In June 1946 it was transferred to Chanute AAF, Illinois as a ground instruction air-frame.  It continued in this status until May 1949 when it was dropped from the USAF inventory.  Subsequently it was placed at various locations around Chanute Air Force Base as a static display until 1993 when the base was closed.  It was then transferred to the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum at the former Chanute AFB in Rantoul, Illinois.  When the Museum closed in 2015 it was transferred to the Museum of Aviation.

North American P-51H-10NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64268), parts, Ken Williams, Robert Cambers, Red Oak, Texas.

 (Bill Larkins Photos)

North American P-51H-10-NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64314), Reg. No. N551H, photo taken in 1969.

 (Bill Larkins Photo)

North American P-51H-10-NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64314), unnamed, painted as (Serial No. 44-64551), Reg. No. N551H, Steven Coutches in Alamo, California.  Airworthy.

 (Bill Larkins Photo)

North American P-51H-10-NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64350), 194th Fighter Squadron, California Air National Guard, ca 1953.

North American P-51H-5NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64375), Reg. No. N67149, being restored to airworthy status by P-51H LLC in Blaine, Minnesota.

 (Mike Freer - Touchdown-aviation Photo)

North American P-51H-5NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64376), c/n 126-37802, unnamed, Lackland AFB in Texas.

 (Bill Larkins Photo)

North American P-51H-5NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64394), PF-394, 655, Hamilton Field, 6 April 1946.

North American P-51H-5NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64415), painted as RAF (Serial No. KN987), Reg. No. N49WB, Yesterday Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

 (USAF Photo)

North American P-51H-10-NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64505) assigned to the 104th Fighter-Bomber Squadron during the 1954 Summer Encampment at in Massachusetts, being serviced by U.S. Air Force Maryland Air National Guard mechanics.  The Maryland National Guard flew F-51s from 1951 to 1955.

 (USAF Photo)

North American P-51H-10-NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64573) in a close formation flight of fighters with the Maryland Air National Guard's aerobatic team "Guardian Angels".  Maryland had an aerial demonstration team from 1952 to 1953.

 (USAF Photo, California State Military Museum)

North American P-51H-10-NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64600), 195th Fighter Squadron, California Air National Guard, ca 1953.

 (Bill Larkins Photo)

North American P-51H-10NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64633), FF-633, from Bolling Field, Washington, DC, visiting Oakland, California, Oct 1949.

North American P-51H-10NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-64697), 697, stored wreckage, Ken Williams, Robert Cambers, Red Oak, Texas.

 (USAAF Photo)

North American P-51K-5NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-11558), Wisconsin Air National Guard, 176th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron

 North American P-51K-5NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-11807), Reg. No. N451K, being restored to airworthy status by Francis Butler in Grenville, South Dakota.

 (USAAF Photo)

North American F-51K-10NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-11992), 109th Fighter Squadron, Minnesota Air National Guard, 1948.

 (Alan Wilson Photo)

North American P-51K-10NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-12016), "Fragile but Agile", Reg. No. N98CF, Comanche Fighters LLC in Houston, Texas. Airworthy.

North American P-51K-10NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-12116), "Second Fiddle", Reg. No. NX79161, Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

North American P-51K-10NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-12118), Reg. No. N60752, being restored to airworthy status by Mark Tisler, Bemidji, Minnesota.

North American P-51K-10NT Mustang (Serial No.44-12119), painted as (44-12840), Reg. No. N119VF, in storage, Aadu Karemaa, San Diego, California.

North American P-51K-10NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-12481), Reg. No. N89DN, being restored to airworthy status by Brian Nelson, New Berlin, Wisconsin.

 (Bill Larkins Photo)

North American P-51K-10NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-12810), Napa, California, Aug 1947.

North American P-51K-10NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-12817), Reg. No. N5151T, being restored to airworthy status by Lindair Inc. in Sarasota, Florida.

North American F-6K-15NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-12840), "Kiss Me Kate", Reg. No. N51EW, Valhalla Aviation Inc., Los Angeles, California.  Airworthy.

 (Airwolfhound Photo)

North American F-6K-15NT Mustang (Serial No. 44-12852), painted as (44-13318), "Frenesi", Reg. No. N357FG, being restored to airworthy status by Dan Friedkin, Comanche Fighters LCC in Houston, Texas.

Cavalier Mustang II (Serial No. 67-14866), "Bum Steer", Reg. No. N20TF, Tom Friedkin, Texas.  Airworthy.

Cavalier Mustang II (Serial No. 67-22579), "Mormon Mustang", Reg. No. N551BJ, John Bagley, Rexburg, Idaho.  Airworthy.

 (Goshimini Photo)

Cavalier Mustang II (Serial No. 67-22580), "Six-Shooter", Reg. No. N2580, Chuck Hall, Ramona, California.  Airworthy.

 (Bzuk Photo)

 (Armchair Aviator's Photo)

Cavalier Mustang II (Serial No. 67-22581), previously Bolivian Air Force 523, later C-GMUS, currently painted as (Serial No. 44-13410), "Lou IV", Reg. No. N151MC, William Glover, Texas.

Cavalier Mustang II (Serial No. 68-15795), Minnisota Air National Guard Base, Minneapolis, Minnisota.

The Cavalier Mustang was a post-Second World War civilian-modified version of the North American P-51 Mustang.  Although originally intended as a high speed personal aircraft, the Cavalier was also exported for use as a fighter and close air support aircraft to third world air forces.  To construct the Executive Mustang, Trans Florida purchased military surplus P-51s.  The airframes were completely disassembled, the military equipment stripped out, and then rebuilt with a second seat, new avionics, plush leather interiors, luggage bays, and civilian paint schemes. 

Cavalier F-51D Mustangs included nine single control (F-51D) and two dual-control (TF-51D) aircraft.  They were given new serial numbers ranging from 67-XXXXX to 68-XXXXX. Nine (including two TF-51s) were given to Bolivia under a program called Peace Condor.  El Salvador and Indonesia also received Cavalier Mustangs.

 (USN Photo)

Two Cavalier Mustangs equipped with tip tanks, were sold to the US Army for use as chase aircraft, one of which is preserved at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.  (Serial No. 68-15796) was used as a chase aircraft for the AH-56 "Cheyenne" attack helicopter project.  After the AH-56A project had been dropped, the Army Cavaliers were sent to NAS China Lake, California, where they were used in 106-mm recoilless rifle tests.  (Serial No. 68-15796) is shown here with the weapons attached at the wing-tips, 20 June 1974.

 (D Ramey Logan Photo)

North American XR P-51D Mustang (Serial No. 311), "Precious Metal", Reg. No. N8082U.  This aircraft was damaged on 8 Sep 2015 after suffering major damage from an engine fire after refueling at Marianna, Florida.  This is a heavily modified P-51D Reno Air Racer powered by an estimated 3,200 horsepower Griffon engine.  The XR designation was created by the race crew, and signifies the specially designed contra-rotating 3-Blade propellers.  "Precious Metal" is the only P-51 of its kind.  (Alsoreported as (Serial No. 44-88a), Reg. No. N6WJ).