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RV-18 ;-) (A P51 Mustang)

A friend of mine is a very good pilot, and apparently somebody he knows was looking for the right guy to store and fly a plane that he isn’t flying… no costs involved but a fair amount of responsibility. So my friend got the job. I jokingly asked him what kind of plane it was, and he replied “it’s a RV-18, they finally decided to design a retractable”

I have no idea where my friend meets his friends, I’m guessing Reno. I’m hoping he’ll give me a ride, particularly if some plastic is around when the fuel truck comes, but I might also have to help him clean out the hangar…. which is what was going on when this photo was taken.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 05 Dec 21:44

It was a tight fit but it did go into its new ‘home’.

It has dual controls but that won’t be greatly relevant for the next few weeks as a new engine is on its way, oil pressure on the current engine is a bit lower than it should be.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 06 Dec 01:10

Nice :-)

Is the engine a Packard Merlin?


Yes, Packard Merlin with (apparently, I’m told) various mods to make it last longer between overhauls than was once the case. These people among a few other shops do the work on them.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 06 Dec 16:04

Out with the old, in with the new for 2022. It’s a very big engine. The typical modern practice for P-51s is BTW to use “transport heads” on the otherwise Packard manufactured engine. These are Rolls Royce manufactured cylinder heads originally used on engines for large postwar aircraft that needed to fly an increased number of hours between engine overhauls. If I understood correctly, the cost of the replacement engine was $250K, which reflects $50K core value for the existing engine being turned in. Overhaul takes 1000 hrs of labor.

One radiator end plate is leaking, so the radiator needs to be pulled and repaired. The installation is as simple as it could be, basically it’s a boxy heat exchanger held into the fuselage with straps. However getting to all the fittings is tough, so it’ll still be a big job.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 28 Dec 16:31

What money can buy ;)

always learning
LO__, Austria

Money and lots of work. Two of the three people working on the plane yesterday were doing it for fun. And it was fun

Last Edited by Silvaire at 28 Dec 16:21

All the expense and power of a small turbine, and you can do your own tinkering and repairing – what’s not to like?

What I find most fascinating in these engines and aircraft is that they were built in the tens of thousands at the time; probably not as meticulously as they are maintained now given their originally short life expectancy

Biggin Hill

One of the guys working on the plane is an A&P, as well as a lot of other things like the owner of an aircraft component design and manufacturing company. That’s all that’s needed for engine swaps, maintenance etc on this plane. He’ll also be the one who test flies it in a few weeks…

The P-51 does not BTW have a standard type certificate, it’s in FAA Limited category which like Experimental makes different operational rules apply.

North American built P-51s in a well organized industrial setting at what is now LAX airport in Los Angeles, not in caves or dispersed production. The plane is very well engineered, not at all fiddly. Given its size and power it’s not particularly difficult to maintain other than the engine and associated systems. It has for example very limited avionics. The engine is a beast but as you say there has been decades of experience in making them last and shops that do nothing else. The infrastructure also exists for the planes as a whole, at e.g. Chino where a lot of them are stored.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 28 Dec 18:28

yep, Chino was and still is treasure cave

Still wonder about the title of this thread, RV-18…why not “Just Another Mustang”, or similar?

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland
24 Posts
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