USA: Warplanes of the Second World War preserved: North American F-82 Twin Mustang

North American F-82 Twin Mustang

(USAF Photo)

North American XP-82 Twin Mustang (Serial No. 44-83887), on a test flight over the Sierras, 1945.

The North American F-82 Twin Mustang is the last American piston-engined fighter ordered into production by the United States Air Force. Based on the North American P-51 Mustang, the F-82 was originally designed as a long-range escort fighter for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress in the Second World War. The war ended well before the first production units were operational.

In the postwar era, Strategic Air Command used the aircraft as a long-range escort fighter. Radar-equipped F-82s were used extensively by the Air Defense Command as replacements for the Northrop P-61 Black Widow as all-weather day/night interceptors. During the Korean War, Japan-based F-82s were among the first USAF aircraft to operate over Korea. The first three North Korean aircraft destroyed by U.S. forces were shot down by F-82s, the first being a North-Korean Yak-11 downed over Gimpo Airfield by the USAF 68th Fighter Squadron.

(USAF Photo)

North American XP-82 Twin Mustang (Serial No. 44-83887).

(USAF Photo)

The second prototype North American XP-82 Twin Mustang (Serial No. 44-83887) being flight-tested at Muroc Army Airfield, California.

(USAF Photo)

P-51D and F-82 in formation.

(USAF Photo)

North American XP-82 Twin Mustang  (Serial No. 44-83887), 30 August 1945. This aircraft was transferred to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), in 1952. It was later sold to Walter Soplata after accident mid-1950s, Newbury, OH.

(USAF Photo)

North American F-82B (Serial No. 44-65168).

(USAF Photo)

North American P-82C Twin Mustang (Serial No. 44-65169) prototype night interceptor, 1946.

(USAF Photo)

North American F-82C (Serial No. 44-65169) flying over Seal Beach, California. This F-82C in black night fighter motif. The large pod that carries a radar array under the wing.

(USAF Photo)

North American F-82F (Serial No. 46-415).

(USAF Photo)

North American F-82E (Serial No. 46-256).

(USAF Photo)

North American F-82G Twin Mustang (Serial No. 45-401), 68th Fighter AW Squadron.

(USAF Photo)

North American F-82H Twin Mustang (Serial No. 46-377).

(NACA Photo)

North American EF-82B Twin Mustang 1-NA (Serial No. 44-65168) with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), Cleveand, Ohio, 1952. Note the “EFQ” Buzz Code, the NACA symbol on the tail, and the full serial number.

Five F-82s are known to still exist.

North American XP-82 Twin Mustang *Serial No. 44-83887) has been restored to flying status in Douglas, Georgia and was first flown on 31 December 2018. During the restoration process, a number of written notes and graffiti by the original factory workers were found on internal surfaces. These were preserved and later reapplied to the interior of the finished aircraft. It carries Reg. No. N887XP,. This aircraft is currently on loan in flying condition to the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida.

North American F-82B (Serial No. 44-65162) is on display in the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. It had been a gate guard outside Lackland AFB in Texas, until acquired by the Commemorative Air Force in 1966 who flew it until damaging it in Harlingen, Texas in 1987. The unique props and landing gear were destroyed and replacements could not be obtained. In 2002, the CAF tried including it in a trade, but the USAF had to sue them for its return as it was loaned to the CAF on the condition that the CAF return the aircraft if it was no longer wanted. It arrived at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in late 2009 and underwent an extensive restoration in 2010, modifying the aircraft to resemble an F-82G but without the F-82G's radar "long dong" pod, as none had been located. In 2011, the aircraft was displayed in the Korean War Gallery. "Betty Jo" is one of two F-82B's in the NMUSAF collection at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

North American F-82B (Serial No. 44-65168) "Betty Jo" is also on display in the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio in its Cold War gallery. The aircraft is displayed in the markings of its historic Hawaii to New York flight in 1947, along with clothing and artifacts used in that record-breaking flight. "Betty Jo" was delivered to the Museum on 21 June 1957.

North American F-82E (Serial No. 46-0262) is on display as a gate guard at Lackland AFB in Texas as part of the USAF Airman Heritage Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

North American F-82E (Serial No. 46-0256) is currently under restoration to flying status. It was at the Walter Soplata farm. This aircraft previously flew with the NACA and had a registered FAA tail number.

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