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P-51 Gallery


The sign by the Mustang skis exhibit. It reads

P-51 Mustang

In the 1940s, the United States Army Air Forces needed to operate from unprepared airfields with unpredictable weather conditions. To accomplish this they tested and developed a lightweight ski undercarriage for use with a number of their combat aircraft, including the P-51 Mustang. The skis could be easily installed on the main and tail landing gear struts in place of the wheels. The main gear strut fairings were retained but the main gear and tail wheel doors were removed, allowing the skis to retract flush with the bottom of the aircraft. When installed, the skis added 390 lbs to the aircraft weight.

In January 1944, the Luscombe Engineering Company produced the first set of skis fitted to a P-51A. Flight testing took place at Ladd Field, Alaska and showed that the aircraft could take off and land in a distance of 1000 feet. Ground handling proved extremely easy despite the absence of brakes using only throttle and rudder control. The absence of the main gear door caused the aircraft to lose its top speed by 18 mph. Even though tests proved successful and several sets were procured, there is no record that the Army Air Forces actually used them operationally.

The skis on exhibit were donated to the Museum of Aviation Flight & Technology Center by Mr. Robert Fratangelo of Sodus, New York. He purchased them from a used furniture dealer who was selling them as skis for showmobiles.

The sign by the P-51 ski display.
Time picture taken Sun Jun 21 14:32:24 2009
Location picture taken WWII Hangar (Hangar 3)
Museum of Aviation
Warner Robins, Georgia
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