The other week the pilot of a P-51 Mustang fired up its Rolls Royce Merlin – all 27 litres of classic engine – right next to me. Moments like these don’t come around very often.
That sound is one of the classics of the piston-engined world. And it has to be experienced, up close and personal, to be really understood.
This particular Mustang is owned by Jetfighter Ltd, based in Auckland, and I photographed it at Napier airport. The Royal New Zealand Air Force received 30 just after the end of the Second World War, part of a batch of 370. The order never eventuated and in 1951 the 30 P-51’s were deployed instead with the Territorial Air Force, where they remained in service until the middle of the decade.
And if you want to learn more about the RNZAF and its Mustangs – well, the story’s in my book Kiwi Air Power, available from Amazon.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015