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North American P-51 Mustang 'Jersey Jerk'

We always like to try and bring you something 'new'. That's not always easy when it comes to eighty-plus-year-old warbirds.

You might notice two things about this example of the North American P-51 Mustang. Firstly its rather distinctive colour scheme which airshow aficionados may not recognise and secondly, both of these pictures are taken on the ground.

Both points are explained by one simple fact; this one hasn't flown yet since an extensive restoration by our friends at Air Leasing at Sywell.

It's usually not a bad idea to have the most famous US fighter of WWII at an Airshow based at a WWII US Airbase. The P-51 has more in common that just being on the same side as the Spitfire - they both have the same engine, the Merlin. Most Mustangs have a variant built under licence by Packard, but it's the same 12 cylinder legend which powers the Spit. In the Mustang superchargers subtly up the power to around 1,400hp but, if an emergency dictated, 1,700hp plus was possible.

Like the P-47, the Mustang was a fighter bomber. In the fighter role, it was capable of over 1600 miles and could therefore effectively escort bombers to and from their German targets. Aerodynamically superb it could climb at over three thousand feet a minute and could go as high as 42,000', impressive for any aircraft especially the airborne equivalent of a heavily armed supercar.

Post war, aside from staying in service, air racing was effectively born thanks to surplus P-51's. Today, they're the stars of Airshows all over the World and they are also almost common compared to the P-47 - this is one of five airworthy examples and yet another aircraft debut for us. All we need now is for her to fly and then find a German fighter to shoot down.


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