With the completion of the 44th annual Reno Air Races (see story on page 27) and the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends in Columbus, Ohio, (see that story in our next issue), the P-51 has gotten a lot of attention in the last few weeks.
During World War II, the P-51 Mustang earned a reputation as a fast, hard-working airplane. Hundreds were sold for surplus after the war, with many converted into air racers.
They soon proved their peacetime mettle. In the 1946 Bendix Trophy race, the first through third place winners all flew P-51s. Paul Mantz, air racer and Hollywood stunt pilot, actually did a “three-peat,” placing first in the 1946, 1947 and 1948 races in a P-51.