North American P-51D Mustang in Detail
Part 2 - Wings and Tails
A testimony to the quality of Hendon Mustang's restoration can bee seen
in this view. Despite the once widely-spread urban myth,
high-performance US aircraft such as P-51 or P-38 were never finished
entirely in bare metal. Aerodynamically important elements such as
Mustang's laminar-flow wing were puttied, sanded flush and then coated
in aluminium lacquer. What you can see here is the faithful reproduction
of this job on the fixed wing area, while flaps, ailerons and the wing
root area remain
View of the wing-to-fuselage joint. Note the curved line of its rear part
where the wing root fairing goes
Port flap in the dropped position, showing clearly how it retracts under the
wing root fairing.
Close-up of the upper wing area showing the red fuel filler cap and
two-part hatch covering the gun compartment.
Detail of starboard aileron and trim tab.
Port wing tip with teardrop-shaped navigation light.
Close-up of the port aileron with visible two "fences" on the wing's
Visible throughout in Mustang's design is the care which North American designers
approached the drag problem. Any drag-inducing feature found was
addressed in one way or another, such as these small fairing over the
three gun barrels in the port wing.
Starboard universal rack. Almost all P-51D-25-NA and subsequent series
aircraft had these underwing hardpoints not only for bombs and fuel
tanks but also for various types of rocket launchers
Underwing drop tank. A number of different types of drop tanks was used
on P-51s during the war. This is the most solidly built metal 75 gallon tank, and
it was the one which prevailed also for post-war use.
Another view of the horizontal tail and elevator.
Close examination of the rudder reveals unmistakably that the Mustang
has its roots in 1930s technology. It was but one part of the P-51D
airframe which was fabric-covered - note the rib tapes visible from this
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