Mustang: The Untold Story

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Matthew Willis
Other Publication Information
Hardbound, 287 pages. 120 B&W photographs, 23 color photographs, 10 chapters
Company: Key Publishing Ltd - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Cover Image

In 1940, the British Air Commission (BAC) approached U.S. aircraft manufacturers about purchasing aircraft, particularly fighters. Curtiss presented their model 81 and planned P-46 which the BAC later ordered 480 model 81s and 960 P-46s. Lockheed presented their YP-38 prototype. North American Aviation (NAA), who as of yet had little experience with fighters, drew up a proposal for a fighter that they insisted was to be at least as good as the P-46. The BAC required assurance for NAA’s claims and that each aircraft be less than $40,000 each. Eventually the BAC ordered 400 of NAA’s fighters, even before a design was presented. The company's lead structures engineer recalled that Edgar Schmued had given the subject of a single seat fighter a great deal of thought in the previous years, called the P-51. NAA’s design team and Schmued were determined that the aircraft would be cutting edge. By the end of 1940, the first prototype, called NA-73X or XP-51, was ready for flight. They encountered considerable trouble with the Allison V-1710 engine in the form of installation, carburetion, and exhaust flames. After many revisions it arrived for testing as the XP-51 with a max ceiling of 30,800 ft, 1,150 hp, and a range of 750 miles.

Willis does an excellent job of having enough details to give a complete picture and not providing so much detail to make it hard to read. Along with the details of the design to production process, he gives plenty of first-hand accounts and backgrounds of the campaigns that the early P-51s participated in. The campaigns covered are North Africa, The Mediterranean, China-Burma-India, and Fortress Europe. To conclude the book, there are the technical details which go over the differences of the A-36As, NA-73, NA-83, NA-91, and the NA-99. Technical details go over the fuselage, empennage, wings, flaps and ailerons, equipment, systems, armament, undercarriage, cockpit, and propeller.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about the origins and first production of the P-51.

Thank you to Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for the review item.


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