The P-51 was a fast and durable plane. The P-51D was powered by a Packard V-1650, two stage two speed supercharged V-12 (derived from the Rolls Royce Merlin engine).
After the war, many P-51s were converted and sold for civilian use (mainly air racing). Hence the relatively large number of P-51s still in flying condition, and its ubiquitous presence at air shows.
Here's a P-51D with a P-51A behind it. Thanks to all who sent me the correction that it is not an A-36!
P-51 'Lady Alice' taking off, with a P-40 in the foreground.
'Kimberly Kaye' is another P-51D Mustang.
3 Mustangs can be seen taking off at the same time here.
A pair of Mustangs taking off on the same runway in formation.
'Spam in a Can'!
The P-51D is the definitive version of the Mustang. The 'D' model has the bubble canopy, which greatly improved rear visibility.
The P51D entered service in the European theater in mid 1944, and took over escort duties from the P-38. With its long range, it could accompany bombers all the way to Germany and back.
The German fighters preferred to avoid tangling with the escort fighters, making one massed head on pass on the bomber formations before breaking off. The Allies countered by actively going after the German airfields, straffing them along with other targets of opportunity.
By the time of the Normandy invasion, such tactics helped the Allies gain air superiority over Europe.
Losses from ground attack missions were higher than air to air combat, since the liquid cooled engine of the Mustang was more vulnerable to small arms hits than an air cooled engine.
The P-51 remained in service after the war, as other types like the P-38 and P-47 were withdrawn from use.By the Korean war, P-51s were renamed F-51, and given the task of ground attack.
Here's a better view of the P-51A. I was told I could tell the difference between the P-51A and the A-36 Apache by the dive brakes on the later. Since there aren't any dive brakes here, it must be a P-51A! Of course, I probably wouldn't recognize a dive brake even if it fell on me!
P-51D Mustangs had a Max speed of 437mph, had six 0.50 cal machine guns, and could carry up to 2,000lbs of bombs or rockets.
Mustangs were so popular that Ford named their muscle car after it!
Always exciting to watch them taking off!
Unique to the planes at the time, the Mustang has a huge scoop underneath the plane (behind the cockpit area). The F-16 is just like it!