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Overview And History Of The North American P 51 Mustang

2087 words - 8 pages

Do you know which plane is claimed to have caused the change in the tides during World War II? The North American P-51 Mustang is widely known across aviation during WWII as the “most aerodynamically perfect pursuit plane in existence” by the Truman Senate War Investigation Committee in 1944. The P-51’s unique in its design, construction, and usage. Even its current status, over 70 years later, is fascinating (Boeing, 1995).
The Mustang was to be designed in the United States during the World War II era. When the contract was give the designers had a swift deadline, it was to be ready in no more than 120 days from that days date that the contract was given. Many sources claim that it was done within 102, while others argue that it was 117 days. Needless to say, it was designed magnificently for only having a short amount of time allotted to be designed and the first prototype created. (Writer, 2014) Models A and B power plant was manufactured by a company named Allison, the later models were produced by Rolls Royce-Packard (or Merlin). The producer of the airframe was the company known as North American, i.e. the ‘North American P-51’. The aircraft has many qualities that are very different than that of other planes that were designed around the same time period. For one, it had a three hundred and sixty view canopy, (which was not on the original design), but was added later gave the pilot full visibility, something very uncommon with WWII planes (Boeing, 1995). The idea to use canopies with a full three hundred and six view allowed many pilots to see enemies that would have normally been in a blind spot, thus saving plane, pilots, aircraft and lots of money. In this case canopies saved many civilians lives and helped the Allies gain the upper hand in the war.
Along with canopies, the later Mustang’s had a Merlin two- stage, two-speed supercharger engine which did something a little different than the Allison-engine aircraft that was used earlier in the war. These engines kept their pressure equal to pressures at sea level during flight by using an intercooler between its two super charged compressors. This in turn gave the engine a heavier blend of fuel and air in its cylinders, which kept the engines cooler. The Supercharged Merlin is known for its use in other planes like the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster. The unique engine relied strongly on the air-cooler radiator located on the belly of the plane. The plane however had a major flaw; it had a tendency of ground fires because of the location of the radiator. An interesting fact about the the radiator was that the downstream actually had explosion of hot air that sometimes would cause some extra thrust that could slightly increase the performance of the aircraft. The original models top speed was around 400 miles an hour, but as the models improved the top speed increased to somewhere around 500 miles per hour. The mustangs landing speed was roughly 100 miles per hour. The average...

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