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North American P-51 B/C Mustang in U.S.A.A.F. Service (Aircam Aviation 5)
By Ernest R. McDowell
Publisher: Osprey 1969 52 Pages
PDF 7 MB
Under the contract terms agreed to by the United Slates and British Governments as well as North American Aviation the fifth (S/N 41-038) and tenth (S/N 41-039) production Mustangs were delivered to the AAF at Wright Field for a flight test and evaluation program. The USAAF designated these two aircraft as XP-51s. Testing revealed that while they lacked the desired high altitude performance then deemed necessary for fighters their extremely high speed and excellent handling characteristics at low altitude made them superior to anything then flying in the AAF inventory.
The war in Europe had alreadv demonstrated the value of the dive bomber and pointed up the need for suitable tactical reconnaissance aircraft. The P-51 was ideally suited for either role with little or no modification work needed. The USAAF, therefore, ordered 150 P-5ls and followed this initial contract up quickly with another callino for 310 PolAs.