Success would be an understatement when talking about the P51 Mustang. This plane was active in World War II and the Korean War. During World War II, the Mustangs were the first to see action after France was overtaken by the Germans and it was able to defeat every German plane it came in contact with.
Built by North American Aviation P-51 was a long-range, single-seat fighter. It was initially developed for the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and was subsequently flown by the RAF, before it was used by the United States.
The Mustang’s history is impressive. Based in England, it penetrated Germany’s defenses and was the first allied aircraft to reach Berlin. During late 1943 and 1944, the USAAF’s Eighth Air Force’s Mustangs were used to escort bombers on bombing raids and they were used to look for and engage the German Luftwaffe airplanes.
The Mustangs were also involved in North African, Mediterranean and Italian battles.
The final tally for kills by the P-51s during World War II was 4,950 enemy aircraft shot down.
But these success stories didn’t end there. At the beginning of the Korean War, the Mustang was the main fighter. It wasn’t until the F-86 fighter jets took over that the Mustang changed roles to become fighter-bomber.
Even though jet fighters were all the rage in the 1950’s, the P-51s actually continued on as a service fighter until the early 1980s.
The Mustangs are now flown as civilian planes and are also used in air shows around the country.