Designed in 1940 by North American Aviation as long range fighter and fighter-bomber for use during World War II the P51 Mustang later went on to serve in many conflicts including the Korean war and was used by over 30 nations. The first batch of Mustangs were originally built in the US to a British specification for the RAF. The early Allison engines lacked power especially in a climb due to the absence of supercharger which limited their use to armed tactical reconnaissance. When in 1942 they were fitted with a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine they were transformed into what is considered one of the best US fighters of all time and affectionately became known as the “Cadillac of the skies”.
P-51D Mustang ‘Janie’ was constructed By North American Aviation in Dallas Texas in 1945. One of a batch of 10 which left the factory on 16th July 1945, it was shipped to New Zealand where it spent the next 10 years as NZ2427. NZ2427 was sold in May 1958 for the equivalent of £80 to Barry North and Pete Colman, remaining on Pete Colmans farm until 1990. In 1990 the Alpine Fighter Collection of New Zealand purchased the airframe and it was moved into storage at their headquarters at Wanaka. In 1997 the current owner Maurice Hammond purchased the airframe and transported it to the UK, registering it as G-MSTG. Over the next 4 ½ years Maurice undertook a full restoration including an overhaul of the Packard Merlin engine. Its maiden post restoration flight was on Friday July 13th 2001 in the WWII colour scheme of Major Bill Price from the 350th Squadron, 353rd Fighter Group based at Raydon, Essex.
UPDATE – P-51D Mustang ‘Janie’ was involved in a serious accident on the 2 October 2016 when she hit the ground near her home airfield of Hardwick. The pilot and owner Maurice Hammond was seriously injured and the passenger in his 80’s was sadly killed.