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WW II North American P-51 Mustang in 1955

WW II North American P-51 Mustang in 1955

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This photo was taken on the taxiway at the Rogers Dry Lake location of the NACA High-Speed Flight Station, California in 1955. Development of the P-51 Mustang started in 1940 with an order from England and it saw its first combat missions in May 1942. Designated during development at the NA-73, it was mass produced as the P-51 originally powered by a 1250 horspower, liquid-cooled Allison V-1710 engine. Design revisions and production of the P-51B with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine kept the Mustang as the leading pursuit fighter plane of its time.

The plane pictured was acquired in 1950 by the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), a predecessor of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This plane flew hundreds of support, chase, and training missions by NASA pilots including Neil Armstrong. The location of the photo is now the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, in the desert of Southern California. It is one of the largest air force bases in the United States and has the world's longest runway.

Today in WW II: 30 Jul 1940 President of Estonia, Konstantin Päts, is imprisoned by Soviet agents and deported to Russia.  More 
30 Jul 1944 Operation Bluecoat begins, an attack by British Second Army supporting breakout in Normandy, aimed to secure the Vire junction and high ground of Mont Pinçon [30 Jul-7 Aug].
30 Jul 1945 USS Indianapolis [CA-35] torpedoed by Japanese submarine, sinks in 12 minutes killing 300 immediately, leaving 900 men in shark-infested waters without lifeboats; only 316 rescued 4 days later.
Visit the World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.