Behold The First P-82 Twin Mustang To Take To The Skies In Over Three Decades

It has taken well over ten years and 200,000 hours of labor to reach this awesome milestone. 

Youtube Screencap

It's official! On January 28th, 2019 a North American Twin Mustang lifted into the air once again on a planned flight, its twin Packard-built Merlin engines roaring like only they can. The event was truly music to aviation history's ears. 

You can read all about master warbird restorer Tom Reilly's years of work to bring the XP-82—a prototype variant of the P/F-82—back to life, and the Twin Mustang's place in the annals of military aviation, in this past piece of ours. Originally, it was hoped that the Twin Mustang was would be flying in time to make a triumphant appearance at EAA's Airventure air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin last Summer, but that goal increasingly looked in doubt as the July show date approached. 

Better late than never and now that the XP-82 has flown it will begin a flight test program from its home field in Douglas, Georgia that will hopefully lead to it being cleared to roar around the country to various air shows and warbird gatherings in the not so distant future. 

Check out some video of the flight below (make sure your sound is on!):

This was technically the second flight of the reborn XP-82, but its first planned flight. A December 31st high-speed ground test ended up turning into an unplanned, albeit short flight. A posting on the XP-82 project's Facebook page described the surprise inaugural flight and just how powerful the aircraft is:

"On 31 December 2018, our XP-82 Twin Mustang flew for the first time since 14 December 1949. Although it wasn’t supposed to fly yesterday, all that was planned to do was the last FAA required runway high-speed taxi test, lift off for a second or two and then back down, deploy full flaps and brake to a stop. It accelerated so fast after the planned lift off that Ray, our test pilot, realized that getting it back down and stopping it in the remaining runway would be marginal. So he pushed the power back up and flew for about five minutes.

The unexpected and dramatic acceleration of our XP-82 at 55 inches of manifold pressure occurred because it was approaching three times the horsepower of a single engine Mustang and one and a half times the weight. The XP-82 has 1860 hp each side for total of 3720 hp, compared to 1500 hp for the P-51. Our XP-82 weighs approximately only 1 1/2 times more than a P-51 - 14,700 lbs. compared to 9500 lbs. for the P-51.

The very short gear-down flight showed zero airframe squawks, hands-off no trim required, with all engine temps and pressures normal.

This wonderful test flight came after a 10.5 year restoration encompassing 207,000 labor hours. Many thanks to Ray Fowler, our test pilot and all of the men and women that made this restoration possible. 

Thank you, Tom Reilly."

A huge congrats to Tom and his team. We can't wait to see and hear her rip through the sky with our own eyes and ears!

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com