24 May 1948: Two days after setting a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world speed record with her P-51 Mustang, Jackie Cochran sets another. Flying her green North American Aviation P-51B-15-NA, serial number 43-24760, civil registration NX23888, Cochran flew an average of 693.78 kilometers per hour (431.095 miles per hour) over a 1,000 kilometer (621.371 miles) closed circuit, without payload, at Santa Rosa Summit, near Indio, California.
FAI Record File Num #12148 [Direct Link]
Status: ratified – retired by changes of the sporting code
Class: C (Powered Aeroplanes)
Sub-Class: C-1 (Landplanes)
Category: Not applicable
Group: 1 : internal combustion engine
Type of record: Speed over a closed circuit of 1 000 km without payload
Performance: 693.78 km/h
Course/Location: Santa Rosa Summit, CA (USA)
Claimant Jacqueline Cochran (USA)
Aeroplane: North American P-51 Mustang (NX28388)
Engine: 1 Packard V-1650 (RR Merlin)
The P-51B was the first version of the North American Aviation fighter to be powered by the Merlin engine in place of the Allison V-1710. Rolls-Royce had selected the Packard Motor Car Company to build Merlin aircraft engines in the United States under license. The Packard-built V-1650-3 was based on the Merlin 63. It was a 1,649-cubic-inch-displacement (27.04-liter) liquid-cooled, supercharged, single overhead cam 60° V-12 engine, which produced 1,490 horsepower at Sea Level, turning at 3,000 r.p.m. with 61 inches of manifold pressure. The engine drove a four-bladed Hamilton-Standard constant speed propeller with a diameter of 11 feet, 2 inches (3.40 meters).
The P-51B was 32 feet, 3 inches (10.135 meters) long, with a wingspan of 37 feet, ¼-inch (11.284 meters). It was 13 feet, 8 inches (4.167 meters) high. The fighter had an empty weight of 6,985 pounds (3,168 kilograms) and a maximum gross weight of 11,800 pounds (5352 kilograms). Its cruise speed was 362 miles per hour (583 kilometers per hour) and the maximum speed was 439 miles per hour (707 kilometers per hour) at 25,000 feet (7,620 meters). The service ceiling was 41,900 feet (12,771 meters). With internal fuel the combat range was 955 miles (1,536 kilometers).
1,988 P-51B Mustangs were built at North American’s Inglewood, California plant. 1,750 of the nearly identical P-51C variant were produced at Dallas, Texas. This was nearly 23% of the total P-51 production.
© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes