North American P-51 Mustang

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P51D Mustang
Type Military aircraft
Author(s) Jim Wilson & Hal Engel
FDM YASim and JSBSim
--aircraft= p51d
Status Production
 FDM Stars-5.png
 Systems Stars-4.png
 Cockpit Stars-3.png
 Model Stars-4.png
Supports Bombable
Download Download the P51D Mustang aircraft package for the current stable release (2020.3).

The P-51D Mustang is a piston single engine fighter aircraft.

Aircraft Help

Flying Hints

For the JSBSIm model use the USAAF F-51D/K manual (Aug. 1945) for detailed procedures. This are available on-line from the link near the bottom of this page in the External Links section.

Take Off

  • Initially hold tail down with full aft stick.
  • Slowly increase throttle to 40 inHG Manifold Pressure as you pick up speed.
  • Be ready to actuate rudder during the take off roll.
  • At about 50 MPH indicated start releasing stick back pressure. The tail will start to lift and the airplane will want to go to the left as the tail is coming up.
  • Once the tail is up increase throttle to 61 inHG.
  • As you gain speed the amount of rudder correction to the right will need to be decreased and you may need to use left rudder depending on how much right rudder trim you set.
  • Stay on top of rudder and elevator with small adjustments and keep the nose down until rotation or you'll do a ground loop.
  • Rotate at 150 mph if you have enough room but never below 120 mph (short field only).
  • As you raise the gear the trim will change in a nose up direction. Be careful to avoid stalling or loosing air speed as the gear is retracted.
  • All of the take off trim settings will need to be adjusted as you pick up speed so this will contribute to a high pilot work load during the take off. You will need to remove right rudder trim almost as soon as you leave the ground.


  • Back off manifold pressure to 46 inHG.
  • Adjust propeller pitch to 2700 RPM.
  • The throttle has automatic boost controls and will hold the manifold pressure setting as long as the supercharger has enough boost to provide the selected setting. It will hold 46 inHg to about 30,000 feet.
  • The mixture control is also automatic if it is set in the RUN position.
  • If the supercharger speed switch is at AUTOMATIC the supercharger gear ratio will be controlled by an automatic system.


  • Trim and Cruise at about 2400 rpm.
  • Do not exceed 2700 rpm sustained.
  • Do not exceed 3000 rpm military power (aerobatics)
  • Do not exceed 3500 rpm in dives.
  • Do not exceed 61 inHG Mainfold Pressure (military power), except 71 inHG for maximum of 7 minutes (war emergency power). Note that war emergency power is not for flying fast, rather it is for dogfighting at < 200mph.


  • Use continuous back pressure on the stick to obtain an tail-low attitude for actual touch down.
  • Because of the wide landing gear and locked tail wheel, landing characteristics are excellent on this aircraft.
  • Minimize use of brakes during ground roll.
  • At completion of the landing roll, clear runway as soon as possible. Excessive braking can cause you to do a ground loop (nose over). Some recommend raising flaps immediately after touchdown.

Performance Data

This information is gleaned from various sources: Maximum Speed: 437 mph

Cruise Speed: 363 mph

Landing Speed: 100 mph

Initial Climb Rate: 3475 feet per minute Sustained Climb Speed: 175 mph

Service Ceiling: 41,900 (with 2nd Stage booster).

Stall Speed (9000lbs) Gear/Flaps Up: 102mph Gear/Flaps Down: 95mph

Development status/Issues/Todo

New 3D external model is underway


The intent is to create an external model that is a solid 5 in the FlightGear rating system. All models are being built based on factory blue prints (my set has over 11,000 drawings). So the models will be extremely accurate and have lots of detail. Volunteers are welcome but I am expecting any work done to be of the very highest standard. There is tons of 3D related work that needs to be done and there are many very small 3D modeling projects that would make good starter projects and I am willing to mentor anyone that is willing and ready to do a good job.

Fuselage status

(updated 6-08-2014)

  • External skin model - done.
  • Windshield and its external frame models - done.
  • Doghouse model including inner passages, doors and heat exchangers - done.
  • Exhaust fairing, pipes and cowl cutout models - done.
  • Spinner model - done.
  • Full instrument panel model - done
  • Internal windshield and armor glass structure/framing - done.
  • Air intake holes in the lower front area of the cowl - done.
  • Horizontal stabilizer and elevator model including trim tabs and linkage - done.
  • Dorsal fin done - S51, Q144, Q145.
  • Appendage fillet - done. L162 front, L163 upper, M202 front LH, L395 full butt lines B model (pre-dorsal).
  • Vertical stabilizer and rudder including trim tabs and linkage - done.
  • VHF antenna done. S129 has side view but no dimension. Grommet fuselage pass through T360.
  • Internal skin model - done.
  • Upper and lower longerons - done.
  • Frames done:
    • Station 89.75 drawing T553
    • Station 104 drawing R172
    • Station 112.75 drawing T547
    • Station 118.2 upper canted drawing Q509
    • Station 119.25
    • Station 122.25 upper drawing L181
    • Station 133 drawing Q500 & T291
    • Station 146 drawing R173
    • Station 148.5 106-31109-1
    • Station 155.5 upper drawing T495
    • Station 157.5 drawing Q501
    • Station 168 drawing T548 & S156
    • Station 184 drawing O502 & T558
  • Wing fairing model done.
  • Tail wheel, retract mechanism and doors models done.
  • SRC-522A radio model done.
  • Instrument shroud done. R182 side view M135 main drawing D model.
  • Rear warning radar antenna. done.
  • Emergency canopy release cable covers. Done.
  • Canopy frame cover. done
  • Canopy crank. done
  • Emergency release handle and handle bracket. done
  • Canopy and frame. done

To-do list

  • SRC-522A dynomotor.
  • support beams for radio and dynomotor.
  • Rear fuselage fuel tank. Drawings: S11, S12 and S13.
  • Battery box.

Wings - 3D Models Done

(updated 5-26-2014)

  • Ailerons - done.
  • Flaps - done.
  • Wing tip - done.
  • Wing tip lights - done.
  • Signal lights - done.
  • Ribs in wheel wells.
    • Station 27 drawing R39 - done.
    • Station 38.5 drawing K521 & M110 - done.
    • Station 50 drawing K522 & S98 - done.
    • Station 61.5 drawing K523 R156 -done.
  • Wheel well internal skin including front and rear spar models - done.
  • Landing gear door models - done.
  • Landing gear door hydraulics models - done.
  • Main landing gear leg model - done.
  • Outboard landing gear door linkage - done.
  • Main wheel & tire model - done.
  • Gun port fairing models - done.
  • Gun ejection chutes - done.
  • Aileron trim tabs including linkage - done.
  • Stringers in Wheel well - done.
  • Main gear hydraulics models - done. T460
  • Mounting brackets for landing gear door hydraulics - done.
  • Plumbing for landing gear door hydraulics _ done.
  • Landing light model - done. T316 T578, T579, T580, L276, Q590, Q548, T626, P562, J890 - J892, T84
  • Center wing gap cover - done. S48

On the right are some screen shots of the WIP models.

Error creating thumbnail: File missing
Interior view of new P-51D 3D model. Shows frame and longeron details.
View of underside of the P-51D model. Notice the gun ejection ports on the lower wing surface and the rib and stringer detail in wheel wells.
Upper front quartering view.
Error creating thumbnail: File missing
Upper rear quartering view.
Side view.
Rear quartering view.
Head on view. Note how the canopy bulges away from the shape of the windscreen. This is the typical shape of later model California P-51Ds with the type -6 blown canopy.
Canopy and canopy frame from above and to the rear.
Canopy and truck detail - front view.
Canopy and truck detail.
Gun ports on left wing looking toward the fuselage.
The P-51D model looking up into the wheel wells.

UV Mapping, Texturing, Bump Mapping Reflection Mapping To-do list

  • UV mapping, texturing, bump mapping and reflection mapping need to be done for everything.
    • If anyone would like to help with this please feel free to contact me via a PM on the FlightGear forum.
  • HG476-1 through HG476-6, R140 (D model), S254, P246, P247, B971, G415, C101
    • 10*-48144, 104-73365
  • fuel filler flange on wing Q102

3D cockpit

  • When the new external model is done a mostly new 3D cockpit will be built out from the skin inward.
  • Almost none of the existing models in the cockpit were built from actual plans/blue prints and as a result are not accurately modeled. Exceptions that will not need to be remodeled include:
    • Most instruments.
    • The K-14A gun sight and related models.
    • The throttle quadrant.
    • The VHF radio control unit.
    • Elevator trim wheel.
    • Rudder and aileron trim wheels.
  • Need to be remodeled.
    • Armor plate S45 & S46
    • Seat S22, M179
    • Stick T526, G141
    • Rudder pedals
    • Panels
    • Right switch box Q480 & Q481, T576, T596, T597
    • Canopy release handle and brackets
    • Port control pedestal M171, M172, M173
      • Retract lever.
      • Flap control.
      • Induction air controls.
    • Cooling system control box L282
    • Lower panel Q640 & Q641
    • Fuel tank selector
    • APS13 panel Q648
    • rear warning radar panel Q646 & Q647
    • VHF radio control unit mount Q633 Q558

Non-3D model related

  • YASim version will be removed. Done.
  • Directory structure will be changed to reflect current FlightGear standards.
  • Add matriculation.
  • Add engine start up smoke.
  • Add exhaust flames.
  • Add muzzle smoke and flash to guns.
  • Add gun cartridge case ejection animation. 50 BMG case already modeled.

Airplane of the Week/Month

The P-51D (JSBSim) was reviewed as 'Airplane of the Week/Month' on May 04, 2011 as follows:

P-51D (JSBSim)


The JSBSim version of the P-51D comes with a very detailed 3d cockpit, down to various warning plaquettes. I think it conveys the feeling of being in a warbird very much. Based on a quick google image search, it looks pretty authentic to me.


Most of the switches are actually functional :-) For instance, some amount of fuel management is required for longer flights. The plane comes with a full working set of weapons, from guns via bombs to rockets - so tight dogfights are entirely possible. A full engine startup procedure is simulated. The exterior model is maybe not stunning, but nice enough for all practical purposes:


Flight characteristics

The JSBSim FDM of the P-51D is very detailed and is actually a joy to experience. As common with warbirds, engine torque is a major issue - try spinning up the engine suddenly in mid-air, and observe how the plane begins to roll unless you counter immediately with the ailerons. Accoding to Hal (the author), the performance characteristics in different altitudes is very faithfully reproduces (I lack the documentation to check, but I haven't seen anything implausible).

The plane is rather difficult to handle - it requires some skill to get it off the ground in spite of the engine torque forces, and even more skill to get it back to the ground in one piece onto the runway. Having the full control equipment (joystick and rudder pedals) is certainly a tremendous help - but it is possible with some practice to fly with just the mouse (avoid crosswinds though...).

The ground handling is tricky - ground loops (the propeller touches the ground) are a constant danger (apparently that really was and is an issue with the real plane) - so careful use of the brakes is a must, and sometimes its even necessary to throttle down immediately after the engine starts.

And, as a very special feature - the plane actually spins rather realistically - so be careful when approaching stall speed.

My personal wishlist

An added pdf manual describing all the features and providing some background info would be terrific - I have the feeling I'm missing so many details...

Things to experience

Let a tank run out of fuel, and experience a lovingly and realistically modelled engine stutter, followed by an emergency landing.

Related lists

External links