One of a series comprising technical descriptions - cutaway drawings - genealogy - combat and operational records from contemporary articles from Flight, The Aeroplane and Aircraft Production, with modern material from Aeorplane Monthly.
Mustang: A living Legend concerns itself with Mustangs that are still with us - aircraft that have withstood the difficult test of time to remind us of an age well past. To restore and fly a vintage fighter in the 1980s requires not only skill but a considerable outlay of cash. Once surplussed for a few hundred or few thousand dollars, Mustangs are now in demand by collectors and are rapidly approaching the $500,000-mark in value. Around 100 Mustangs currently fly and more restorations are underway as hulks deemed fit for scrap only a few years ago are brought back to life. A few years from now, we will probably be seeing Mustang restoration with as much as 75 per cent of the air-frame built from replica parts - such is the demand.
Matched in the early stages of World War II only by the spitfire, the Messerschmitt Bf109 was undoubtedly one of the greatest combat aircraft of all time. It first flew in 1935 then followed the familiar pattern of civil war prototype, record breaker, Spanish civil war combat train of development common to so many other German aircraft of the period. It was the dominant fighter in the Luftewaffe until 1941 and served on all fronts, and with the air forces of Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania among others.
Serving the Luftwaffe in almost every capacity including interceptor, fighter-bomber, night-fighter, photo-reconnaissance, escort fighter, and ground attack, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the mainstay of the German air force-with 30,000 aircraft produced-as one of the most successful fighters of WWII.