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How to Make a Mustang: 1942

How to Make a Mustang: 1942

October 1942. Inglewood, California. "Employees at North American Aviation, Incorporated, assembling the cowling on Allison motors for the P-51 'Mustang' fighter planes." 4x5 inch Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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The guy in front looked like Mark Ruffalo for a second.

Aviation Men

Always with the WHITE OVERALLS. Back then in the olden days he probably wore wool slacks, a collared shirt and a tie underneath it all.

The Allison engine first appeared in the prototype version and in the A36 and P51-A model planes. A tell-tale sign of the Allison engine is the "trumpet exhaust tips." Later Merlin engines had round exhaust tips.

Buzzed by Mustangs

The Mustang started out with an Allison V-1710 engine then to a Packard built V-1650-7 which was a licence-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 60 series two-stage supercharged engine.

There were 16,766 of them made and in 1945 they cost $50,985. I remember being buzzed by three Mustangs at Air Cadet Camp at Abbottsford, B.C., in the 1950s. What a sound.

New info

New pic of the Galloping Ghost shows that the pilot's seat may have broke forcing the pilot back away from the controls at a critical point in the flight

Nice photo.

On many levels, great photo.

Safety wiring by hand

Wow, safety wiring by hand. I had to learn to do that in high school, while the instructors got to use safety wire pliers, which are a nifty gadget. With safety wire pliers you start the twist, clamp the wire in the pliers, then pull a knob on the bottom, which threads a long screw out from the tool (like on an old-fashioned metal top), twisting the wire in a nice, uniform spiral. Sweet.

As for Jimmy Leeward in the Galloping Ghost last weekend in Reno, in the slo-mo video I saw, the elevator trim tab appears to come loose and break off.

Mustang power

Allisons were used in Mustangs before somebody had the idea of strapping a Rolls Royce Merlin engine onto a Mustang. The Allison-engined Mustangs were a bit of a disappointment, but with the Merlin they turned into the fighter we think about when we hear someone say Mustang.

Safety Wiring

The guy in the foreground is safety wiring bolts, spent a lot of hours doing that on fuel controls when I was much younger!

Horrific accident in Nevada

I see people blaming the pilot because of his age. Ridiculous. Also a shame to lose a vintage plane, and my all-time favorite WW2 fighter, the P-51 Mustang. Thanks for showing us where they began. Great shot.

A Classic

Beautiful aircraft. The Mustang and the Spitfire were almost perfect designs. They just looked "right." We owe them and their pilots so much and those who were in the "big boys" they protected.

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