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: 17 May 1940 Brussels falls to German forces; Belgian government flees to Ostend, Belgium.  More 
17 May 1943 US Army contracts with University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering to develop ENIAC computer.
17 May 1943 8th Air Force B-17F Flying Fortress named Memphis Belle becomes the first plane to complete a 25-mission tour of duty.
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