Planes of Fame Air Museum
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Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  North American P-51A 'Mustang'


  • The Royal Air Force approached North American Aviation to build P-40 Warhawks under license from Curtiss. North American believed they could build a better fighter for the British, and the first NA-73X prototype was flown on 26 October 1940, from Mines Field (now Los Angeles International Airport); the airframe had been completed in a remarkable 102 days!
  • The early machines were afflicted with aerodynamic problems that increased drag and led to fuel starvation. Later redesigns of the radiator and carburetor ram air scoops solved those problems, and the first production model was delivered to the RAF in October 1942.
  • Meanwhile, the Army Air Corps received its first XP-51 on 24 August 1941. However, the U.S. Army Air Forces' (USAAF) fighter budget outlook was grim, and it looked like the type would be stillborn, so NAA executives and their USAAF counterparts conspired to fund the aircraft under the attack budget. Accordingly, bomb racks and dive brakes were added, and the Mustang became the A-36, thus keeping the production line open.
  • On 24 August 1942, 1,200 NA-99 versions were ordered by the USAAF, and designated P-51As. The first P-51A flew on 3 February 1943, and the first deliveries began the following month.



  • The Museum’s P-51A was part of the third and final production block of P-51A aircraft built in Inglewood, California. It was the 249th (out of 310) P-51A built. It was delivered into service in May 1943. Painted in instructional black and yellow, the aircraft was routed to the Grand Central Airport Company in Glendale, California. They used it at their Cal-Aero Technical Institute to train aircraft technicians, mechanics, and engineers. Acquired by the Museum in 1953, it was fully restored in August 1981. It is currently the only authentic and original P-51A aircraft flying in the world. It was a featured aircraft in the movie Iron Eagle III.



Status: Flyable
Manufacturer: North American Aviation
Year: 1943
Model: P-51A-10-NA Mustang
Registration Number: N4235Y
Serial Number: 43-6251
Crew: 1
Max T/O Weight: 9,000 lb.
Span: 37 ft. 0 in.
Length: 32 ft. 3 in.
Height: 12 ft. 2 in.
Maximum Speed: 390 mph
Cruise Speed: 275 mph
Rate of Climb: 3000 ft/min
Power Plant: 1-1,125hp Allison V-1710-81 V-12 liquid-cooled engine.
Range: 450 miles
Service Ceiling: 30,000 ft.
Armament: Four 0.50-cal machine guns


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