World’s Only Flying Twin Mustang Goes On Sale

Given the incredible success of the P-51 Mustang during the Second World War, it’s perhaps no surprise that the United States entertained the idea of combining two of the iconic fighters on the same wing to create a long-range fighter that could escort bombers into Japan. But the war ended before the F-82 “Twin Mustang” became operational, and the advent of jet fighters ultimately made the idea obsolete. Just five examples of this unique piece of history are known to exist, and the only one in airworthy condition can now be yours.

Assuming you’ve got $12 million laying around, anyway. Even for a flyable WWII fighter, that’s a record setting price tag. But on the other hand, you’d certainly be getting your money’s worth. It took over a decade for legendary restoration expert [Tom Reilly] and his team to piece the plane, which is actually a prototype XP-82 variant, together from junkyard finds. Even then, many of the parts necessary to get this one-of-a-kind aircraft back in the sky simply no longer existed. The team had to turn to modern techniques like CNC machining and additive manufacturing to produce the necessary components, in some cases literally mirroring the design in software so it could be produced in left and right hand versions.

Recovering half of the Twin Mustang in 2008.

We first covered this incredible restoration project back in 2018, before the reborn XP-82 had actually taken its first flight. Since then the plane has gone on to delight crowds with the sound of two counter-rotating Merlin V-12 engines and win several awards at the Oshkosh airshow. The listing for the aircraft indicates it only has 25 hours on the clock, but given its rarity, we can’t blame [Tom] and his crew for keeping the joyrides to a minimum.

As important as it is to make sure these incredible pieces of engineering aren’t lost to history, the recent crash of the B-17G Nine-O-Nine was a heartbreaking reminder that there’s an inherent element of risk to flying these 70+ year old aircraft. A world-class restoration and newly manufactured parts doesn’t remove the possibility of human error or freak weather. While we’d love to see and hear this beauty taxiing around our local airport, it’s a warbird that should probably stay safely in the roost. Hopefully the $12 million price tag will insure whoever takes ownership of the world’s only flying F-82 treats it with the respect it’s due.

18 thoughts on “World’s Only Flying Twin Mustang Goes On Sale

  1. There is an XP-82 in a museum already. It is at Wright Patterson.

    Let someone who can afford to fly this one fly it. It will be an inspiration to those who see it to understand the history of aircraft built for WWII.

    Nine-O-nine crash was a reminder to those who own planes, of any vintage, that care must be taken and proper maintenance must be done to be safe.

      1. If true (that Collings did not maintain their aircraft properly), it is indeed sad.
        I mean, malfunctioning magnetos and worn spark plugs?
        If you can’t get good replacement parts, or proper fuel/carburetor settings (pre-ignition), DON’T FLY IT!

  2. I used to know a guy who knew a guy who owned a P-51.

    He sold it. Reason: he couldn’t afford to fuel it. That V12 sucks high test like it’s free. But it’s not free.

    Buy a yacht instead. You’ll save money.

      1. The R/C club I belonged to when I was a teenager (1980s) flew at the tiny local airport (Oconomowoc, WI). We had own own grass runway at the end of the full-scale grass runway. There was a doctor in a nearby city who had a P-51 in Waukesha.

        If he came out toward Oconomowoc and saw people flying, he would make a high pass to let us know he was around (you couldn’t miss the Merlin!) and give us a chance to land, and then he’d make a low pass or two down the length of one of the runways. Awesome. I’m getting choked up just typing this.

      1. Yes, therein lies the rub…
        Throwing money into a hole in the water will be less expensive than fueling a P-51, much less than a P-51 times two (P-82).

        (I’m not sure if you were trying to explain [Antron]’s yacht comment to others, or not)

    1. Thats the thing with the big engined old warbirds.

      Talked to a guy from the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobiles Museum (Hood River, OR, definitely recommend a visit) once about their T-6 Texan/Harvard. He told me the T-6 used as much or more fuel for startup and warming up as one of their smaller planes (piper cubs, L-3, L-4 and L-5) did in an entire day of flying. Sure it was an awesome aircraft to fly, but keeping it flying is expensive as heck.

      1. And then you think of how many of those planes were flying from the UK which was effectively cut off from the rest of the world. The effort to fuel those planes was immense. From bringing fuel in by boat dodging enemy submarines, to getting it from the ports to the airfields via a secret pipeline to avoid enemy aircraft. Then after D-Day they had a pipeline under the sea to supply the campaign in northern France.

  3. A single P51 runs around a US gallon of Avgas per minute in the cruise, and double that during take off or displaying. The XP-82 can probably double that fuel burn rate (for the obvious reasons). As a mere PPL-A (night, IR-R) flying a Robin DR400 (10-12 US gallons per hour) I would gladly donate a spare organ for a flight in that amazing aircraft. So long as there are others non-flying in a museum somewhere, an airworthy example should be allowed to fly wherever possible; it’s not going to be cheap, and maintenance needs to be fully up to date at all times, but with sufficiently deep pockets it only really comes alive when flying – so hopefully someone will give it a chance to do so.

  4. From your previous story “the F-82, which has the outward appearance of being two standard P-51 fighters, but in fact utilizes a vast number of modified components.” I did some reading on this plane last year and was surprised how many parts differ and the strange places they found them! If I recall correctly the counter-rotating engine was found in a garage in Mexico.

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