"Cadillac of the skies" - Flying the P-51 Mustang

Likes Likes:  0
Dislikes Dislikes:  0
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: "Cadillac of the skies" - Flying the P-51 Mustang

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    1,090
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default "Cadillac of the skies" - Flying the P-51 Mustang



    What better way to start this thread (or any thread for that matter) than with a photo.

    If you want to fly a P-51, there's really only one place to go - Stallion 51 at Kissimee, Florida. Most of the UK's Mustang display pilots have been trained at Stallion 51, which is more directed at pilot checkouts than joy-rides but if that's what you want, that's what they'll give you. Here's the website http://www.stallion51.com/

    When I arrived I was amazed to see the Texan and not one, not two, not even three but four Mustangs, three in the hanger (which would pass as an operating theatre) and one on the ramp outside...







    Crazy Horse 1 and 2 are the two dual control Mustangs used for pilot training...



    1,500 'crazy' horsepower of Rolls-Royce Merlin...



    Time to saddle up...



    On the ramp - I was offered ear-plugs but declined - definitely the right decision...



    Before...



    ...and after...



    I wore the Bremont EP 120 for this flight - 'Merlin solidarity'...





    Steve the instructor was incredibly trusting. The reason for the Texan flight earlier in the week with Steve was to practice and refine the aero' routine. Once the Merlin was roaring it was up to me to taxi the P-51, weaving down the runway to see round that beautiful nose. Steve took off then handed over control - it didn't seem real.

    When you open the throttle she just wants to climb and you have to be careful to remain under the 6,000 ft ceiling in the restricted area around the airfield. Once outside, I opened her up and the needles of the altimeter and airspeed indicator raced each other around their dials - the operating ceiling is 12,000 ft and we were up to 11,500 ft in a flash. The airspeed of a fast ship like the Mustang is measured in knots rather than mph but converting our speed to a unit most understand, we pulled 350 mph and over 3g - less g than the Texan but with all that power (and height) there was no need to stress that beautiful and valuable airframe.

    We went through our practiced aero' routine which was an absolute joy in this machine - the Mustang is an aileron aircraft so it's all stick and hardly any rudder. Rolls and loops were just a dream - she is the most responsive machine I have ever controlled - with all that power from the supercharged Merlin there is no loss of power or momentum at the top of a loop or Immelman. We used 2-3,000 ft for the manoeuvres - because we could.

    After that we flew to the Fantasy of Flight museum (where I had flown the Stearman) for a low flypast, then on the way back we went cloudbusting and rolled around the smaller cumuli. Sitting there with the pistol grip control column in one hand and the throttle in the other, gazing down at the world 11,000 ft below and out over that silver wing, it seemed like a dream - for just a second I could swear we weren't alone and were surrounded by dozens of other "Little friends" but it was only the sun and my imagination...

    As we approached the airfield's restricted airspace I brought her down to under 6,000 ft, then 1,000 ft for the overhead, expecting Steve to take back control at any moment. Break left, surely he was going to take over now? No, still in my hands - quite a responsibility! Line up on the centre line and she's floating down like a leaf, lower and lower for a gentle wheeler - there, main gear kisses the runway - ease the stick back and the tailwheel is down. I can't believe I've just brought a P-51 Mustang down from 11,000 ft to a landing arrow-straight on the centre-line, then Steve confirms "You can't get any better than that".

    Next time you are considering buying another watch, think about flying the Mustang at Stallion 51 - you might end up flipping that watch but you'll never, ever forget that flight...

    Regards

    Jon'.
    Last edited by StampeSV4; 11-04-2010 at 22:16.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Old Europe
    Posts
    707
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default At a loss for words...


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    315
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Unbelievable!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    716
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Jon'
    Some more great photo's.I guess the two seat P-51's are more rare than the single seat P-51's.Were I live once a year some vintage WW2 bomber's come to the airport.One of them a B-17 if you want to pay they take you for a flight.One of these day's I mite go for it.There are not many of these WW2 bird's that are in flying condition.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,638
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Amazing flight and fantstic post...

    Thanks Jon'

    Pretty special. The watch ain't bad either.

    That Merlin engine is incredible. I think they originally used the same rotor as the Mark IX too. Operational ceiling of around 22,000 ft with max recorded of over 40,000 ft. Crumbs. Can't wait for the video!

    M
    Your bleeding-edge Now is always someone else’s past. Someone else’s ’70s bellbottoms. Grasp that and start to attain atemporality.

    the #watchnerd

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wiltshire, UK
    Posts
    791
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    That is a great experience. The Mustang certianly ticks all the boxes, loads of performance, sounds fantastic and has the history....
    The EP120 got to fly as well.

    I managed to see the film "The Tuskegee Airmen" recently and the P51 plays a starring role. Always seen bits of it but saw the whole thing, amazing story.
    http://www.redtail.org/

    Thanks for sharing....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Athens, Greece
    Posts
    121
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Dear Jon,

    i am completely D E V A S T A T E D by your post!!!

    I will go now to bed and cry bitter tears in absolute solitude...

    X

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    1,090
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    With five P-51s at Flying Legends 2010 this weekend I was in heaven - again...















    I'm already planning another return trip to Florida.

    Regards

    Jon'.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    422
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    What a superb experience.
    Andy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    South East England
    Posts
    20
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    What a great post!

User Tag List

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •