Man O’ War is a P-51D Mustang converted to a two seat configuration and was stationed at the Southern California Commemorative Air Force for about 10 years. You may have seen her or even taken a ride in this in this iconic WWII fighter.
Man O’ War came to us from Bret and Todd Ward who leased the aircraft to CAF SoCal for use within our Warbird Ride Program for many years.
Proceeds of the ride program were used directly in preservation of the museum’s aircraft.
This P-51D Mustang, tail number 44-72739, was built in the North American Aircraft factory in Inglewood, California on February 15, 1945 and was shipped to the fighter pool at Stanstead, England in March of that year. Too late to see combat in WWII, 44-72739 was returned to the US and assigned to the New Jersey National Guard.
P-51D 44-72739 was reclaimed by US Air Force in 1950 for service in the Korean War but again did not see any combat action. It was returned to National Guard duty until declared as surplus and auctioned in 1956.
Purchased by Universal Studios in 1957, the aircraft was displayed as part of an attraction that required a WWII fighter aircraft with a combat damaged appearance. Most notably the aircraft was used in the 1957 movie “Battle Hymn”. The aircraft had numerous holes punctured into it in addition to other deliberate damage to simulate a bullet ridden aircraft and was kept outside in the open for several years. With a stripped cockpit and engine compartment, an electric motor was mounted inside the nose to drive a “fake” propeller. It was retained by the studio until 1970 when it was auctioned after it was decided to build a new attraction.
In August 1970, Ascher Ward purchased the aircraft from Universal Studios and it was towed to Van Nuys Airport where it stayed for a short period of time. It was decided to move the aircraft to Chino, CA where it underwent a complete restoration at Aerosport hangar. The P-51D aircraft was registered as N44727 in 1972 and carried the nose art “Poontang”, possibly that of Lt. Ernest W Hopcroft’s P51D, 436th Fighter Squadron, 479th Fighter Group.
In 1974, N44727 was purchased by Elmer Ward (no relation) and received an authentic WWII paint scheme as Man O’ War the following year.
The aircraft continues to this day in the livery of Man’O’War (414292/QP-A) of the 334th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group, the personal aircraft of Lt. Col. Claiborne H Kinnard, a highly decorated commander of the 4th Fighter Group, with 25 enemy aircraft destroyed to his credit.
We are sorry to see this wonderful aircraft go, but we know that wherever it goes, it’ll bring big smiles to everyone.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
- Wingspan: 37 ft 0 in (11.28 m)
- Height: 13 ft 4½ in (4.08 m:tail wheel on ground, vertical propeller blade.)
- Wing area: 235 sq ft (21.83 m²)
- Empty weight: 7,635 lb (3,465 kg)
- Loaded weight: 9,200 lb (4,175 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 12,100 lb (5,490 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Packard Merlin V-1650-7 liquid-cooled supercharged V-12, 1,490 hp (1,111 kW) at 3,000 rpm; 1,720 hp (1,282 kW) at WEP
- Maximum speed: 437 mph (380 kn, 703 kph) at 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
- Cruise speed: 362 mph (315 kn, 580 kph)
- Stall speed: 100 mph (87 kn, 160 kph)
- Range: 1,650 mi (1,434 nmi, 2,755 km) with external tanks
- Service ceiling: 41,900 ft (12,800 m)
- Rate of climb: 3,200 ft/min (16.3 m/s)
- Wing loading: 39 lb/sqft (192 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.18 hp/lb (300 W/kg)
- Lift-to-drag ratio: 14.6
- Recommended Mach limit 0.8
- 6× 0.50 caliber (12.7mm) M2 Browning machine guns with 1,880 total rounds (400 rounds for each on the inner pair, and 270 rounds for each of the outer two pair)
- 2× hardpoints for up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs
- 6 or 10× T64 5.0 in (127 mm) H.V.A.R rockets (P-51D-25, P-51K-10 on)