Type: Single engine, long range, high altitude escort fighter
Notable Facts: Won "Best P-51" at EAA’s 2001 Oshkosh convention
Manufactured: 1944, North American Aviation, Inglewood, CA
Serial Number: 122-39922 Military Serial Numbers: USAAF 44-73463; RCAF 9575
Current Registration: CF-VPM
Recent Markings: RCAF 442 Sqn. - flew last Allied ETO fighter mission
The Robillard Brothers North American Mustang IV
Mike Potter, John Aitken, Rob Fleck
First Flight: 1940
Total Production (All Marks): 16,000+
Wingspan: 37 feet
Engine: Packard-Built Rolls-Royce Merlin
Maximum Speed: 400+ mph
The Mustang IV (named P-51 in the USA) is arguably the finest fighter aircraft design of all time let alone the Second World War. The first prototype of the P-51 was originally designed and built by North American Aviation not for the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), but in response to an RAF requirement. Most of the following production aircraft were powered by Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin engines that were capable of superb performance at high altitude. Of the more than 16,000 Mustangs produced, the most common variant was the Mk IV (P-51 D-model in the USAAF) similar to our aircraft, introduced in May of 1944. Through the use of external long-range fuel tanks, the Mustang was capable of escorting daylight bomber formations all the way to Berlin and back, thus providing much needed protection against marauding German interceptors. This highly capable aircraft went on to fight in the Korean War and, incredibly, still equipped some South American air forces into the 1980s.
The VWC Mustang Mk IV is painted in period markings of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Squadron, which flew the last Allied operational fighter mission of the entire European theatre of the Second World War - flying fighter cover for naval operations near the Channel Islands the day after VE Day.