World’s Only Airworthy P-82 Twin Mustang is Resident at Valiant Air Command’s Warbird Museum
By Mitchell Bronson, Public Relations Officer, Valiant Air Command // January 25, 2020
unique artifact owned and painstakingly renovated by master aircraft restorer Tom Reilly
BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – The world’s only airworthy P-82 Twin Mustang, owned and painstakingly renovated by master aircraft restorer Tom Reilly, is resident at the Valiant Air Command’s Warbird Museum.
This unique artifact, the subject of a restoration effort that took over a decade, can be seen at the Warbird Museum, located at 6600 Tico Road, at the Space Coast Regional Airport, in Titusville.
Reilly’s restoration effort was rewarded in 2019, when the Twin Mustang returned to the air, powered by its two 1800 horsepower Packard-built Rolls Royce Merlin engines.
The airplane, certainly the most notable current warplane restoration, was given the prestigious cover story spot in the March 2020 Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine.
The Twin Mustang captures much of the emerging technology of the immediate post-World War II era.
Originally designed to escort U.S. Army Air Force bombers on long missions, the war ended before it could see combat. In a notable feat at the time, one Twin Mustang flew nonstop from Honolulu to New York in 1947.
While the world’s air forces hastened to design and build jet fighters, their limited early capabilities made the piston-powered P-82 an essential part of America’s early Cold War arsenal.
The Twin Mustang is, as its name implies, a development of the famous P-51 Mustang fighter. Two P-51H Mustang fuselages are joined with a straight center wing section, which carries the aircraft’s armament of six .50 caliber machine guns.
Its 460 miles-per-hour top speed was certainly up to the challenges of the era, while its size permitted it to carry the large early airborne radar and earned it a place as one of our finest early interceptors.
In fact, a P-82, redesignated F-82 after the Air Force was established, made the first “kill” of the Korean war, in the summer of 1950.
The Valiant Air Command’s Warbird Museum is open every day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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