Written By: Hanna Brandt / Curatorial Intern
Described by one pilot as “elegantly simple and simply elegant”, the P-51D Mustang was a fast, efficient fighter plane used in World War II and the Korean War. The Mustang could fly long distances and escort heavy bombers at a high altitude, making it a respected force in the skies. The first Mustangs were completed just 117 days after being conceived, so some changes were made to improve their speed and functionality. For example, the planes were originally powered by an Allison engine but were later traded for the Packard Merlin, an engine that ensured speed (426 mph), power and maneuverability; making it one of the most effective piston engine fighters.
The P-51D Mustang displayed at the Evergreen Aviation Museum was primarily used in national speed races. After being passed through several different owners, it was discovered that it had less than 400 hours of flying time. It was restored and donated to Evergreen in 1986. Now you know a bit more about the P-51D Mustang!