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P-51 Gallery


The sign accompanying the plane. It reads

North American P-51C Mustang Excalibur III

On May 29, 1951, Capt. Charles F. Blair flew Excalibur III from Norway across the North Pole to Alaska in a record-setting 10½ hours. Using a system of carefully plotted "sun lines" he developed, Blair was able to navigate with precision where conventional magnetic compasses often failed. Four months earlier, he had flown Excalibur III from New York to London in less than 8 hours, breaking the existing mark by over an hour.

Excalibur III first belonged to famed aviator A. Paul Mantz, who added extra fuel tanks for long-distance racing to this standard P-51C fighter. With it Mantz won the 1946 and 1947 Bendix air race and set a transcontinental speed record in 1947 when the airplane was named Blaze of Noon. Blair purchased it from Mantz in 1949 and renamed it Excalibur III, after the Sikorsky VS-44 flying boat he flew for American Export Airlines

Gift of Pan American World Airways

Wingspan: 11.3 m (37 ft)
Length: 9.8 m (32 ft 3 in)
Height: 3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
Weight, empty: 4,445 kg (9,800 lb)
Weight, gross: 5,052 kg (11,800 lb)
Top speed: 700 km/h (435 mph)
Engine: Packard Merlin V-1650-9, 1,695 hp
Manufacturer: North American Aviation
Englewood, Calif., 1944

Sign by the P-51 at the Udvar-Hazy Center
Time picture taken Wed Jun 20 15:32:00 2007
Location picture taken Catwalk
Boeing Aviation Hangar
Udvar Hazy Center
Chantilly, VA
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