The P-51 Mustang is so sleek and modern looking, it’s hard to believe it made its first flight 76 years ago. In 1940, when the Anglo-French Purchasing Commission arrived in the United States looking for military aircraft, they were hoping for something a little faster than the Curtiss P-36 Hawk and the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. The commission met with North American Aviation’s James “Dutch” Kindelberger, who suggested an all-new design. The prototype, the NA-73X, was completed in just 120 days, and made its first flight on October 26, 1940. Think you know all about the Mustang? Take our quiz and find out.
Sources: Milestones of Flight: The Epic of Aviation with the National Air and Space Museum by F. Robert van der Linden, Alex M. Spencer, and Thomas J. Paone; P-51 Mustang by Robert F. Dorr; At the Controls: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Book of Cockpits, edited by Tom Alison and Dana Bell.