And since it's almost Christmas, we’ll gift you this image of a P-51 Mustang parked under the setting sun. The photo was taken for the USAF back in October, at a time when the aircraft was preparing to take part in the 2022 Aerospace Valley Open House, Air Show and STEM Expo event at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.
And we’re not talking about any kind of P-51 Mustang, if there ever was such a thing, but about the famed Man-O-War, the aircraft being flown by Commemorative Air Force at shows across America and currently flying out of the Palm Springs Air Museum.
Tail number 414292, the plane is a P-51D version of the notorious North American Aviation World War II fighter-bomber, meaning the final variant to roll out the assembly lines.
Capable of carrying just the pilot, these war machines were powered by a Merlin 12-cylinder engine capable of developing 1,490 hp on a regular basis, but when going for a throttle setting called war emergency power (WEP), that peaked at 1,720 hp.
The maximum speed of the plane was 440 mph (710 kph) and it could keep in the air for as long as 1,650 miles (2,660 km) when equipped with external fuel tanks. The airplane could climb as high as 41,900 feet (12,800 meters).
Weapons-wise, the P-51D was equipped with six .50 caliber Browning machine guns, carrying a total of over 1,800 rounds of ammunition. Rockets (six or ten of them, depending on the variant) and bombs (a single one per run) were also included in the arsenal.
All of the above are numbers and specs that belong to the history books now. No Mustang in existence does combat duties anymore, but pretty much all of them are there to please the crowds.
The Man-O-War does so with a black, white, and red paint scheme, with its name inscribed on the nose and the USAF star aft. The plane will probably fly its share of air shows and racing missions in 2023 as well, but at the time of writing, we have no info on where you’ll be able to experience it first-hand.