The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is on everyone's short list as the best overall fighter plane of WWII. While the definitive version was the P-51D, yeomans' service was performed by the P-51B/C models the same plane and same revision level, but built at different plants.
The two Design Analysis articles, [ PDF, 16 MiB ], one from Aviation [ HTML ], and one from Industrial Aviation [ HTML ], both deal primarily with the P-51B/C, as do our wallpaper images.
Another design article, from Air Tech, [ HTML ], describes the original, Allison-engined P-51. An example plane in one of the illustrations is a P-51-2.
Other cutaways were not in color, but remain instructive:
An ad in the November, 1944, Air News shows a color phantom rendering of the P-51D.
Being American, photogenic and effective, the Mustang was featured in a number of articles:
- "North American P-51 Has Novel Design Features" [ HTML ] (included in the Design Analysis PDF); this article deals with the original Mustang model, as delivered to the RAF.
- "Attack-Fighter" [ HTML ] describes the A-36 as a conversion, compares to the Hurribomber.
- "Mustangs by North American [ HTML ] describes process flow for assembling P-51Bs at the Inglewood facility.
- A short article, "Rear-View Mirrors" [ HTML ] describes rear-view mirror installations in the P-51 and the Corsair.
- "Aerodynamic, Weight, and Servicing Refinements Featured in North American P-51" [ HTML ] (included in the Design Analysis PDF); this article probably describes some of the changes incorporated in the P-51D.
- The "Have You Seen?" section for June, 1941, includes a Mustang (XP-51) on the ground, seen from 10 o'clock.
- A Solar Aircraft Co (exhaust systems) ad, "North American NA-73 Mustang Interceptor" shows a Mustang, probably an XP-51, from 11 o'clock low. Plane is in "natural metal" finish with meatball US insignia.
- The "Have You Seen?" section for February, 1942, shows a Mustang I in flight in RAF colors, seen from 2 o'clock.
- The "Have You Seen?" section for March, 1942, shows a Mustang on the ground, seen from 2 o'clock. It makes the point that the plane was partly assembled by women.
- A North American ad, "In RAF Service", shows a Mustang I, seen from 8 o'clock low.
- A Purolator ad, "Purolator
flies with this North American fighter", shows a Mustang I from 3 o'clock low and detail photos of some Purolator filters.
- An Aeronca ad, "I'll be seeing Yuh!", shows a pilot mounting the left wing of a P-51. The canopy has an external rearview mirror installed.
- A Fafnir Ball Bearings ad, "Making News with the RAF!", shows a P-51A from 11 o'clock high.
- "Aviation's Sketchbook of Design Detail" for February, 1943, included a P-51B cutaway.
- A photo from a Roebling (John A Roebling's Son's Co, aircraft cables) ad shows a P-51A in flight seen from 2 o'clock low.+
- A six-panel comic-book style article, Mustang: Flying Bronco," illustrates six combat scenarios featuring P-51As (Mustang Mk II) in RAF markings.
- The Air Tech design article [ HTML ] includes photos and a cutaway drawing:
- A news clip with photo, "North American Converts P-51 into Army Bomber" [ HTML ] includes a photo of three A-36s flying line abreast.
Planes are A-36A 283707, 283715, 283716. View is from 9 o'clock.
- "North American P-51 Has Novel Design Features" [ HTML ] includes 2 photos of planes in flight and 5 detail photos of the assembly line.
- "Prototype of the North American P-51 Mustang fighter (left) on which design and construction details have just been released, made its first test flight within 120 days of beginning of preliminary design. Dive bomber version (right) is being built on same production lines as fighter."
Prototype P-51 is seen in flight from 12 o'clock. A-36As 283715 and 283716 are seen in flight from 10 o'clock.
- "Despite design-production schedule allowing but 120 days, North American engineers decided on laminar flow wing, never before used. Final foil, however, was quite different from that developed by NACA, to which NAA engineers give full credit for research work. Note flush riveting by which aluminum alloy skin is attached. Well for fully retractable main landing gear is at lower right." [ photo ]
- "P-51's full cantilever, stressed skin wing consists of two panels bolted together at center. Main and rear spars are flanged aluminum alloy; remainder of wing consists of extruded stringers and pressed ribs. Although designed in remarkably short time, plane was set up for quantity production methods. Here fuselage is lowered into position for mating with wing during production." [ photo ]
- "Mustang purportedly presents smallest cross-sectional fuselage area ever designed behind Allison engine. Side panel (left) of fuselage main section is actually a beam, the structure comprising two longerons forming the beam caps and skin forming the webs, reinforced by vertical frames. Behind cockpit, longerons extend into semi-monocoque structure reinforced by vertical frames. In production, panels go into jigs (right) when turn-over structure (inverted V unit at center) is installed."
- "Structural aluminum engine mount, replacing conventional welded steel type, was designed into P-51 to facilitate installation and removal as well as to save weight, simplify construction, and provide easy access for field maintenance. Engine cowling consists of forward ring and seven detatchable panels to provide maximum accessibility for mainentance." [ photo ]
- "Attack-Fighter" [ HTML ] includes two photos of the Mustang family:
- "Mustangs by North American [ HTML ] includes a photo of an Allison-powered Mustang, seen from 3 o'clock, 14 photos of the Mustang assembly lines, and a flow diagram.
- A National Tube Co (division of US Steel) ad, "The plane that caught the Axis flat footed!", shows a P-51A from almost directly overhead.
- A news clip photo, "Mustang hits even harder", shows a cannon-armed P-51 Mustang from 2 o'clock high.
- A color Gallery photo, "North American Mustang is AAF dive bomber (A-36) and fighter (P-51)", shows P-51A-1-NA 36013 from 2 o'clock high.
- A North American ad, "Yank pilots nicknamed it Invader", features a color painting of A-36s strafing; view is from 10 o'clock low.
The number on the foreground plane belongs to a block assigned to PT-27 trainers, probably Canadian.
The Invader name was assigned to the Douglas A-26; the A-36 was assigned the Apache nickname, but was as often as not simply refered to as a Mustang.
- An Aeroquip Corp (hoses) ad, "Where Time Counts", shows the left nose of an early P-51, probably a P-51 or P-51A, with access covers off and 4 ground crew working.
- An RBC (Roller Bearing Co) ad, "North American uses RBC Needle Bearings", shows a P-51 or P-51A in camo from 3 o'clock high.
- A BF Goodrich ad, "Airplane of the month, North American Mustang", features a color painting of A-36s on a raid. Planes in camo; planes in foreground seen from 9 o'clock.
- A Fafnir Ball Bearings ad, "War Horse with a Kick", shows a P-51 from about 3 o'clock.
- A color Gallery photo, "Mustang fighters are wrapped in plastic and crated for shipment to Britain", shows workers wrapping a fuselage for sea shipment. A wrapped fuselage and a wing assembly sitting on landing gear are in the background.
From the size of the gun ports in the wings, these would probably be Mustang IA cannon-armed planes.
- A news clip photo shows a P-51B in flight seen from 10 o'clock.
- The Aviation front cover for March, 1944, is a Hamilton Standard ad, "Hydromatics on the P-51B", featuring a color painting of Mustangs flying escort for B-17s.
- A Packard ad, "The newest thing in Umbrellas", features a drawing of Sky Clipper, a P-51B contributed by Packard workers; view is from 2 o'clock high.
Plane is described as a P-51B, but the plane shown appears to be cannon-armed; this combination is not documented in any of my sources.
- "Fighter design" [ HTML ] includes a photo of a cannon-armed P-51 in flight over a mountain range, seen from 2 o'clock high, and a sketch showing the key structural elements of the plane.
- An Ostuco (Ohio Seamless Tube Co) ad, "Partner to Pegasus", shows P-51B-1-NA 312408 in flight, seen from 10 o'clock, and a thumbnail photo of a Packard Merlin.
- Lubrication Chart P-51 Series Airplane shows the lube points and schedules for P-51 and P-51B aircraft.
- A Packard ad, "Two Record-breakers
" shows a P-51D on the ground seen from 11 o'clock. The ad celebrates a Mustang having flown from LA to New York on May 12, 2,470 miles in 6 hr 31 min, 30 sec.
- A North American ad, "Attention Luftwaffe!", has three drawings of P-51Ds.
- The Aviation Design Analysis [ HTML ] includes a number of photos and diagrams:
- uncaptioned phantom rendering of P-51B
This drawing seems to be the same as the color rendering from the Industrial Aviation Design Analysis article, but done in grayscale. If so, it would indicate that the drawing was from North American Aviation.
- dimensioned exploded view parts breakdown with assembly weights
- labeled photo of Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin engine
- exploded view with assembly names
- dimensioned 3-view drawing [ image ] , [ SVG ]
- "Five main sections of P-51", showing breakdown of fuselage
- "Exploded drawing of engine cowling and framework"
- "Engine controls, labeled phantom drawing
- "Exhaust system and vent lines, labeled phantom drawing with exploded view of exhaust stack installation
- labeled photo "Main air scoop, situated beneath fuselage, is fitted with adjustable discharge flaps or scoops to regulate airflow through both oil and engine coolers.
- "Fuel system", labeled phantom drawing showing ferry tanks
- "Engine mount", with detail drawings
- "Engine coolant system", labeled phantom drawing
- "Air ram scoop for carburetor. By operating shutter at left and blast gate at right, pilot can regulate both temperature and pressure of air going into carburetor. Detail (upper left) shows construction of vibration-absorbing connection to base of carburetor." Phantom view with detail drawings.
- "Oil system showing hopper tank at center with dilution solenoid above and radiator at rear. Oil leaves engine by upper of two pipes (lower left), going directly to radiator, thence to top of tank, through hopper in tank, and back to engine oil pump through large pipe from bottom of tank. Small pipe leading into deliver pipe at lower left is for oil dilution." Phantom view with detail drawings.
- "Wing panel is built up on 19 pressed ribs and two spars of 24ST Alclad. Insert shows proportion of wing surface taken up by flap and aileron. Wing tip has single spar and pressed end. Details are forgings. Detail A is front spar-to-fuselage connecting bracket; B is pilot's foot-rest and seat bracket and C is rear spar-to-fuselage connecting bracket. Others are aileron and flap hinge brackets."
- "Flaps are made of 24ST with Alclad skin. Stiffness is provided by 15 main ribs and 13 nose ribs." Labeled top, bottom and exploded-view drawings.
- "Ailerons are built of 24ST with plastic tab. A metal diaphragm retains aerodynamic smoothness of joint with wing." Labeled photo of skin and frame assembly.
- "Main fuselage with firewall, front and rear wing attachment fittings, and air scoop underneath. Details A and B are forged fittings through which pass bolts holding engine mount and firewall. Fuselage wing fittings are forgings carrying bolts for attachment of wings." Exploded view with detail drawings.
- "Main fuselage is built on four extruded 24ST longerons with heavy frames and a few light stringers. Turnover truss is built of 24ST extrusions and sheet for pilot protection. Web assembly is shown at bottom."
- "Cockpit inclosure, with floating back cushion and armored seat back. Heavily framed center glass (top left) is bulletproof."
- "Fuselage rear frame, with diagram giving positions of elevator and rudder control frames and fin attachment forging." Perspective and phantom drawings.
- Rudder and fin "Left: Rudder is fabric-covered 24ST leading edge under fabric. Plastic tab is carried on three hinges. Rudder-operating horn is a forging (shown at bottom of rudder, both views). Right: Two views of fin. This is built of 24ST with rolled stringers and is covered with Alclad sheet." Covered and internal-structure drawings of each piece.
- "Elevator is built of 24ST frame with fabric covering. Trim tab, made of plywood, is operated by horn near center. Balance weights are concealed in stabilizer. Elevator control is through 3-bolt coupling at inside end." Covered and internal-structure drawings.
- "Stabilizer is full-cantilever type with Alclad frame and covering. Half-hard 52S is used for the tips, built on two ribs." Covered and internal-structure drawings.
- "P-51 Cockpit Layout", labeled drawing of instrument panel and surrounding areas.
- "P-51 Cockpit Layout", labeled drawings of righthand and lefthand cockpit controls.
Table of label identifications extends across both pages.
- "Rudder controls with rear wheel steering mechanism at A and wheel lock at B. C is heavy rear bracket for carrying rear steering stresses." Phantom view with detail drawings.
- "Guns and armor." Labeled phantom drawing.
- "Fuselage electrical installation, showing control above air scoop for automatic regulation of oil and coolant temperatures, storage batteries, navigation light (upper right) and (detail A) methods of making connections." Cutaway and detail drawings.
- "Left landing wheel of Mustang." Labeled photo.
- "Control stick. Center connection operates elevator, while rocker with forked ends moves ailerons." Assembly and exploded-view drawings.
- "Elevator and elevator tab controls are by cable from cockpit. Tab rear controls detailed at A. Cable to tabs is operated by handwheel, to which is connected an indicator by small gears, as shown in detail B." Phantom view and detail drawings.
- "Aileron and trim tab controls. Detail A shows operating mechanism of left hand tab, controlled from cockpit by turning knob. Travel of cables is restricted by stops, and adjustments are made by means of turnbuckles. B is detail of right aileron tab adjustment, set on ground, and shows method of attaching and actuating aileron cables by link from stick attachment." Phantom view and detail drawings.
- The Industrial Aviation Design Analysis [ HTML ] includes two foldouts:
- Flying for September, 1944, featured a foldout focused on the Mustang:
- A North American ad, "This Peace Talk Makes Sense", has a drawing of armorers loading .50-cal bullets on a P-51D and a small labeled cutaway drawing of a P-51D.
- A North American ad, "Inside story of the Mustang," features a color phantom rendering of a P-51D, viewpoint at 10 o'clock high, and a color drawing seen from 2 o'clock.
- A North American ad, "Inside Story of the Mustang", features a labeled phantom drawing of the P-51D; viewpoint is 10 o'clock high.
- A news clip photo shows a P-51D on the ground with engine covers off; viewpoint is 1 o'clock.
- A du Pont "Lucite" ad, "Cockpit canopies of "Lucite" increase visibility in P-51 Mustang 75%," features a drawing of the P-51D canopy and small photos of P-51B/C vs P-51D cockpit canopies.
- "Aviation's Sketchbook of Design Detail" for February, 1945, included a P-51D cutaway.
- "Reconversion at North American Aviation" includes a photo of P-51Ds on the production line showing the success of the conversion of the plant from B-25 to P-51 production.
- a Valspar (paint) ad, "beautiful
but tough", shows a cannon-armed P-51 from 2 o'clock high.
- "Aviation's Sketchbook of Design Detail" for May, 1945, included labeled assembly and exploded views of P-51 engine mount. This is probably the mount for Merlin-powered Mustangs.
- "Rear-View Mirrors" [ HTML ] includes a photo of the installation of rear-view mirrors in a Mustang cockpit.
- "Aerodynamic, Weight, and Servicing Refinements Featured in North American P-51" [ HTML ] includes 7 detail photos and 1 detail drawing:
- "Providing additional lifting area of over 4 sq ft, P-51 landing gear inboard fairing door, seen at top in normal closed position when gear is extended, opens (as shown at right) to permit wheel to be retracted, then closes again. Installation protects gear mechanism and plumbing from gravel and dirt, and presents no interference to flow to airscoop. Also visible is landing light relocated from wing. When gear is retracted, fairing on strut contacts roller under lamp housing and pushes unit into recess." [ photo ]
- A 4-photo sequence illustrates access to wing-gun bays:
- "First step for quick access to gun and ammunition bays of Mustang is loosening of two fasteners in the cover latch handles. This permits raising of cover over forward part of gun bay." [ photo ]
- "With hinged cover raised, rear cover of gun bay may then be removed by pushing forward. Access to ammunition bay on right is had by raising shor lever to free one side of ammunition bay cover." [ photo ]
- "With ammunition cover unlocked, it is pulled backward and lifted out with aid of handhold at right. Not that rear cover of gun bay has been removed at the left." [ photo ]
- "In replacement procedure, rear cover of gun bay or ammunition bay cover may be installed first." [ photo ]
- "Here (left) is seen stainless steel shell ejection chute after some thousands of rounds had been fired. Not result of peening action of shell cases. Shown at right, at conclusion of same number of rounds, is new phenolic fiber chute with similar material for striking plate. It exhibits superior characteristics." [ photo ]
- "Armor-plate firewall on P-51 takes place of conventional stainless steel installation and serves structural purpose in addition to affording gunfire protection." [ drawing ]
- The color front cover for Flying, September, 1945, shows the well-weathered belly of a P-51 in flight wearing D-day invasion stripes and carrying two wing tanks.
- A Sherwin-Williams ad, "Extra Speed", has a drawing of a P-51D seen from 4 o'clock and three detail photos of P-51 wings being prepared for their final coat of paint at the factory.
These photos would indicate that too much attention to panel lines on a P-51D model might be misplaced.
- The Air Tech color front cover for October, 1945, shows a P-51D being bombed-up; viewpoint is from in front of left wing.