Remember that twin FT Mustang Josh Bixler made? Here’s the story behind the real airplane.
TheF-82 is, by all means, a strange looking aircraft. If you’d never seen or heard about one before, you’d probably be quite surprised to see two P-51 Mustangs mashed together in a somewhat experimental fashion. However, this Twin Mustang was a serious plane designed to take the P-51 concept to its very limits.
What was it?
Long Range Escort Fighter
1946, after the conflict it was designed for had ended.
272 (including 22 prototypes)
Range (based on the F-82G):
Top Speed (based on the F-82G):
461mph at 21,000ft
6x .50 cal M3 Browning Machine Guns
25 x 5” Rockets
4x 1,000 lb Bombs
Why was it built?
The USAF needed the best escort fighter it could get its hands on. To successfully protect its fleet of bombers both over Germany and the Pacific, they needed a plane with speed, deadly armament, and - most importantly - range.
Especially in the Pacific Theater, aircraft were required to fly immense distances between islands. The fighter pilots needed to fly for several hours between islands, yet they also needed to stay alert for the entire time. Although the P-38 had the range, its pilot would have an extremely taxing experience, so the USAF came up with a new plan - have two pilots.
North American’s solution was to create the XP-82 Twin Mustang. It was essentially two modified P-51H fuselages in a twin-boom layout. There were two cockpits that were occupied by two pilots who would share the tasks of flying and fighting. Whilst one rested, the other would fly. It would be used to escort the B-29 bombers.
However, the war came to an end and the F-82 was sidelined. Jets quickly came onto the scene which beat the F-82 in almost every regard - specifically in speed, range, and armament. However, the Twin Mustang still holds the record for the longest flight made by a propeller-driven fighter at 5,051 mi from Hawaii to New York.
Check out the FT Twin Mustang we made:
Back in 2014, Josh built a Twin Fuselage FT Mustang to represent the F-82 in foam board. Here is the plane it's based on. You can order a speed build kit of the FT Mustang on the Flite Test Store.
If you want to have a go at building a Twin Mustang of your own, the FT Mustang kit is a great place to start!
Share what you’re working on!
Article by James Whomsley
Editor of FliteTest.com
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/projectairaviation