|Later in WWII the Allied bombers were flying deep into Germany but suffered tremendous losses
because of the lack of range the fighter escorts had. German fighters would wait beyond the
range of the Allied fighters and then attack the vulnerable bombers. Once the P-51, called
Mustang by the British, had the Allison engine replaced with a British Merlin it possessed the
high performance that had been lacking. With drop tanks the P-51 had the range to escort
bombers all the way to Berlin and back.
Abner Aust Jr. joined the 457th FS/ 506th FG as a P-51 pilot in October 1944. In March 1945
Aust’s unit deployed to Tinian followed by Iwo Jima where he was credited with five aerial
victories and three more ground aircraft during enemy airfield strafing. Abner Aust became the
last U.S. Ace of WWII when he scored his fourth and fifth victories on August 10, 1945. In 1963
Aust was promoted to Colonel and served as Command of the 33rd FW in Florida, 31st FW
Vietnam and 3rd Tactical FW South Korea.
Specifications for the North American Aviation P-51D Mustang
The main difference between the D variant and the K variant was the use of the Aeroproducts
propeller on the K instead of the Hamilton Standard propeller that was unavailable around the
time of these P-51s being produced. However some K’s will be seen with Hamilton Standard
because of field changes.
Hamilton Standard Prop – 11 ft 2 ins, 4 blades, some were cuffed and some weren’t and had
square tipped blades (paddle blade)
Aeroproducts propeller – 11 ft , 4 blades
Total K built – 1,500
Wing Span – 37 ft (11.27 m)
Length – 32 ft 3 in (9.82 m)
Height – 13 ft 8 in (4.16 m)
Empty – 7,125 lb (3,232 kg)
Gross – 10,100 lb (4,581 kg)
Maximum Take-off – 11,600 lb (5,262 kg)
Engine – Packard Merlin two-staged supercharged V-1650-7, 12 cylinder V engine 1,695 hp.
Maximum Speed – 437 mph (703 km/h)
Ceiling – 41,900 ft (12,771 m)
Range – 950 miles (1,529 km)
Maximum Range – 2,300 miles (3,701 km)
(6) .50 caliber MG
Maximum External Bomb Load – 2,000 lb (907 kg)
Or (4) .5 inch rockets.
|Hobby Master 1/48 Air Power Series
Capt. Abner M. Aust, Jr.
457th FS, 506th FG, 7th AF, Iwo Jima, 1945
Without pilot signature plate
|HOBBY MASTER COLLECTOR