Palm Springs Air Museum 8            April 2011

This is an Allison V-12 that were in the P-51A models when they were first built. The performance up to 15,000 feet was great but after that it lacked at the higher altitudes. This was a major drawback for the designers and they had to do something about it.



Here is the Allison with the heads removed so you can see what's inside. They left the connecting rods attached to the crankshaft so you can see how things were made and how they work.



A close-up of one of the cylinders.



In case you can't read it, the P-51 is the one in the top row in the middle.



Here is the Rolls Royce Merlin engine that went into the later models that changed the problem with higher altitude flights.



This engine sounds like no other that you've ever heard before and if you ever get a chance to see a P-51 flying, pay attention to the exhaust note the engine produces. With that two-stage two speed supercharger forcing all the air into that big V-12 making over 1500 horsepower, it's music to your ears in more than one way.



This huge picture on the wall represents 'The Tuskegee Airmen' of the 332nd Fighter Group that flew P-51's in World War II. Tuskegee is located in Alabama which is where these pilots were trained to fly combat missions and eventually become bomber escorts for B-17's. If you haven't noticed, all of these men were black and had to fight long and hard to be a pilot.

Before the Tuskegee Airmen, no African American had become a U.S. military pilot and they were not easily excepted because of their color which made them work even harder to prove to the other men, to their family, to their friends and to themselves that they could be just as good as anyone else in the military.

If you look close you can see the tails are painted red which quickly became well known to the B-17 crews for the air support they gave while flying missions. Once the word was out that the planes with the red tails saved countless lives during escorts, the pilots of the B-17's requested them over anyone else because of their flawless record.


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