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"Kids these days"-AAflyer
Nov 14, 2004
In a strange turn of events I got to fly a Mustang this week for the first time. Since I was a kid I, like all of us, have looked to that as near the top of my list of planes that I have aspired to fly; More so since I came out of the T-6 and into the -28. Lately because I have had such great experiences with the other North Americans that I have flown I really wanted to see how the Mustang "fit in". Every other N.A.A. airplane I've flown flew just like you hope it would and the Mustang was no exception.

The V1650 is the smoothest piston power imaginable. Smooth as silk. The airplane really doesn't climb very well due to the smallish wing it's riding around on but as such it cruises pretty quickly and picks up energy quickly. It does a great job of trading energy for altitude, though. From a cruise at about 230kts a gentle pull to 170kts would see about 4500 FPM initially which settled in to 2500-3000FPM in a climb from 800 to 5000 feet.

The airplane is pretty pitch sensitive, but has a great aileron feel. A little pitchier than the T-28 but a similar feel in roll, but a little bit better rate of roll, I think. Over all I was expecting the controls to be a bit lighter, but what I got was a control feel that was very consistent throughout the range of travel. Naturally the faster you go, the stiffer the controls. That part really reminded me of the T-6. Nice smooth feel, just harder and harder as the speed picked up.

From an entry speed of a little over 260 knots (about as little speed as you would want) the airplane will give you about a 3ooo ft loop with about a 3.5-4 g pull. The main difference I noticed in the loop vs. the T-28 was the tendency for the airplane to get light at the top. The -28 is heavier on the nose and will fall through the top of a loop with less force than the Mustang. With only little time in the P-51 it felt like I was having to pull the airplane over the top more than in the -28. I think the Mustang is just a little better balanced.

The roll rate of the Mustang (and the balance) came through to me in a point roll. The first point came so quickly that I was surprised and I really toned down the second one. It got a little too soft, but again, due to the great balance of the airplane, the nose tracked nicely with little rudder work and lost very little altitude in the second point. The third and fourth were simply okay (at best), but the airplane really showed its capability.

Barrel rolls were nice and tall and you could really take your time. Much like the T-28. The airplane also does a great inverted parabola with just a little nose-down trim. Pitch up a bit and roll it over and hold about 1/4 or 1/2 G and it just goes along for a nice long while.

Aileron rolls are just like the -28. From cruise, just pick it up and roll it. Zero altitude loss and it's just no sweat. The rudder pedals on the Mustang felt really hard to me, too. The airplane, though, really didn't ask for much foot work, just a little pressure to keep the adverse yaw down and you were great. Trimming the rudder was exactly like the T-28. 5 degrees left for takeoff and as soon as the gear hits the well take it out. It did seem to require less rudder trim than the T-28 throughout the speed envelope, though.

Great times.

I got to do some other cool flying, too, but I'll write more about that later. Fun week for sure!
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Well, I'm a newbie volunteer pilot for the Collings Foundation and the guy that brought me in is one of the Mustang (and B-17/25) pilots. It's a C model with two complete cockpits (one of a kind). I was supposed to be flying the B-24 but they were hanging a new engine on it, so I was more of a utility guy for the first few days of my outing and I got to fly the Mustang on one of the moves from one city to another. The airplane is available for rides at any stop that the foundation makes on the tour. Check out www.collingsfoundation.org for info. Flights are also available in the bombers (as a passenger). It's a great experience and I highly recommend it.

I did get two flights in the B-24, one of which I was able to fly from start to finish from the right seat. That was another good experience.

Mustang flights with the foundation are $2200 for 1/2 hour and $3200 for a full hour. Bomber rides are $425 for about 1/2 hour. All tax-deductible donations.
It was great to read your experience.

Like many aviators, it too is my dream aircraft to fly. Sounds cliche' to want to fly a Mustang but my grandfather flew them (364th FG, 383rd Squadron out of Honington, England) and I've been in love with this aircraft since I was a fetus.

I envy you.

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