The History of "Gunfighter"
Gunfighter is one of the world’s most famous P-51s, having appeared on the airshow circuit and providing rides for over 35 years. The aircraft is a P-51 "D" model, serial number 44-73264. Of the approximately 15,000 P-51s produced in WWII, over 8,000 were “D” models. Today, only about 150 airworthy examples of Mustangs exist world-wide in museums, flying or under restoration.
Gunfighter was built in the Inglewood, California North American plant and accepted into the USAAF in March, 1945. That month, it was shipped to England, where it was assigned to the famous 'Mighty Eighth' Air Force. In July of 1945, after the War ended in Europe, it was returned to the U.S. and assigned to Olmstead Field in Pennsylvania. In 1947 it was transferred to the Air National Guard and it thereafter served with units in Wyoming, New Mexico, Illinois and Kentucky. In 1956 it was declared surplus and sold on the civilian market.
Today, Gunfighter is operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The CAF is the largest operator of Historic Aircraft in the world with 160 aircraft and over 9,000 members. Gunfighter is restored in the colors of the 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, USAAF. The 55th Fighter Group was the first American Air Corp unit to become operational in Europe, first to fly over Berlin and was one of the units that provided top cover over the Invasion Beaches at Normandy on "D-Day", June 6th, 1944.
Gunfighter is powered by a Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. It is rated at 1,490 HP and has a displacement of 1650 cubic inches. Top speed is over 400 mph and ceiling is 41,000 feet. Gunfighter has been modified to include a second seat where the original radio gear and fuselage fuel tank were located. This is a perfect vantage point to enjoy the ride of a lifetime in a P-51!
Without the generous support of our members and the public at large, Gunfighter would not be able to fly. If you would like information about becoming a member or want to make a donation please contact us!
Engine: One 1,490hp Merlin
Weight: Empty 7,125 lbs.,
Max Takeoff 12,100 lbs
Maximum Speed: 437 mph
Ceiling: 41,900 ft. Range: 1300 miles
Flying Today: 150 (approx.)
About the Commemorative Air Force
Collecting and flying warbirds for over half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is the largest flying museum in the world. The CAF is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to honoring American military aviation history through flight, exhibition and remembrance. The CAF's fleet of historic aircraft recreate, remind and reinforce the lessons learned from the defining moments in American Aviation history. The CAF has approximately 9,000 members and a fleet of over 150 airplanes assigned to 70 units across the country. These units, comprised of CAF volunteer members, restore and operate the planes which are viewed by more than 10 million spectators annually. Visit www.commemorativeairforce.org for more information.