P-51 Mustang

P-51 Mustang animated P-51 Mustang animated

The greatest propeller fighter of all time -- the P-51 Mustang!

The P-51 was the most crucial weapon Americans had in Europe. Without the Mustang, air war over Nazi Germany would've been lost.

F-82 Twin Mustang animated gif

Trivia

  • Have seen a P-51D, a Spitfire, and a Me-109 at a museum. Spitfire and Me-109 are the same size -- small. P-51D was larger than both, larger than expected.
  • Its Rolls-Royce Merlin engine's torque was so powerful that hitting full-throttle right after take-off would flip airplane!
  • In 1990, a ZR-1 Corvette tried to race a P-51 — P-51 literally flew past Corvette. Corvette never got the lead, either.
  • P-51D's rudder and elevators were still fabric-covered like old bi-planes (P-51H was fully metal-covered).
  • Flaps were large, could be dropped at high-speed to tighten a turn.
  • Its wing was cranked, not for aerodynamics, but rather to accommodate landing gear. The crank was eliminated on light-weight models which had redesigned landing gear.
  • Both British and NACA made major contributions to design of P-51. British defined its specifications, upgraded its engine, optimized its radiator scoop, invented bubble canopy, and assisted in reducing its weight. NACA solved problems in its ailerons and stability, recommended installing a dorsal fin, and replacing fabric with metal on its control surfaces.
  • P-51B's handling and speed was marginally better than D, but few Bs survive.
  • Each wing had a tiny aerodynamic fence near aileron.
  • P-51 would accelerate instantly by diving, ~450MPH to >= 500MPH within seconds. UK test pilots noted, when diving, P-51s accelerated fastest, remained controllable, could maintain speed long after leveling. US test pilots warned if throttle was maxed and split-S (half-roll) was done, within seconds, speed would go past structural limits. Damage that occurred was serious but survivable (deformed leading edges, rivets and panels popping out, broken hydraulics).
  • How fast could a P-51 dive? Test pilots flew to Mach ~0.85. Combat pilots very probably exceeded this speed. A test P-51D was dived several times, but every time Mach ~0.85 was reached, structural damage occurred, so test pilot couldn't try flying faster.

Impact of the P-51 in World War II

The P-51 was the most crucial weapon Americans had in Europe. Without the Mustang, air war over Germany would have been lost. No doubt, Soviets could have defeated Germans without help, but war would have lasted longer. Like atom bomb in Japan, P-51 shortened the war in Europe. US was near deciding to abandon strategy of bombing Germany, as German fighters were rapidly destroying bombers much faster than US could replace them. Soon after P-51 was deployed, air superiority was established. Despite TV documentaries claiming it was "hopelessly outclassed", propeller P-51D Mustangs managed to catch and annihilate Germany's fleet of Me-262 jets (see P-51 vs Me-262).

Mustang variants

Variants by North American Aviation:

Non-standard variants and replicas:

Please email if a variant is missing.

Light-weight Mustangs

light-weight P-51H Mustang
light-weight P-51H Mustang flying
P-51D vs P-51H Mustang

XP-51F Mustang XP-51F was equivalent to P-51D weighing 1600 lbs less. 3-blade propeller. Top speed 466 MPH.
XP-51G Mustang XP-51G had a 2,200 HP Rolls-Royce Merlin with a 5-blade propeller. Top speed 495 MPH.
XP-51J Mustang XP-51J had an elongated canopy, an Allison engine, and carburetor scoop was eliminated (integrated into radiator scoop), resulted in the most streamlined Mustang ever. Top speed unknown because of engine problems.

North American experimented with 4 light-weight prototypes: XP-51F/G/H/J. Ultimately, production light-weight Mustang was based on the XP-51H.

Improvements in P-51H:

  • top speed nearly 500 MPH
  • much lighter
  • rate of climb increased to 5,200 from 3,500 ft/min
  • more maneuverable
  • visibility improved, cockpit slightly moved up/forward, nose slanted downwards
  • even more streamlined
  • taller tail, longer/shorter dorsal fin
  • wheels were smaller which eliminated crank in wings
  • rear radiator scoop redesigned
  • rear fuselage was deeper
  • all-metal construction (Mustangs used fabric/plywood for control surfaces and trim-tabs)

Relative to a P-51D, a P-51H looks more angular. Test pilots comparing D and H noticed greater maneuverability, acceleration, and climb rate. In normal power settings, speed difference was marginal.

No P-51H Mustangs ever engaged in combat [ref: David McLaren], but NACA literature documents a few were (or were going to be) deployed to escort B-29s [ref: NACA, Reeder]. Prototype was being flight-tested in April 1945 when WWII Europe ended.

When Korean War started, USAF choose to use P-51Ds and keep P-51Hs at home. In an odd reversal from its hand-me-downs policy, USAF actually gave newer/faster P-51Hs to ANG units in exchange for older/slower P-51Ds. One reason probably was reliability — P-51H gained speed by having a weaker frame, and its tail-wheel was prone to collapsing. USAF may have wanted to keep the limited number of faster-but-fragile P-51Hs in reserve for homeland defense, since during early 1950s, the only fighter with long range was still the Mustang.

Only 6 P-51H models still survive [ref: p51h.home.comcast.net]. At least 2 are airworthy.

P-51H proved fragile. Tail-wheel was prone to collapsing, often ANG flew with tail-wheel locked down. Some had weak wing spars, ANG pilots were restricted to 2 Gs.

[ref: North American P-51H Mustang by David McLaren]
[ref: NACA, Reeder]
[ref: p51h.home.comcast.net]

F-82 Twin Mustang

F-82 Twin Mustang

  • Flight characteristics:

    Although the Twin was a strange-looking airplane, its flight characteristics were normal. Compared to a P-51D, F-82 had better climb but heavier wing loading.

    Rolling felt normal and natural. Twin didn't make either co-pilot dizzy. When Twin rolled (like any airplane), rolling motion is a cork-screw, with pivot being a point above airplane.

    Rolling quickly back-and-forth was a prohibited maneuver since its tails would wobble. Its other prohibited manuever was snap-roll.

    A Twin Mustang doesn't look like it has a fast roll rate. However, a pilot said it would roll fast and was "aerobatic", mentioning ailerons were the full width of wings.

    Top speed of F-82B (Merlin) was 480 MPH.
    Climb rate of F-82B (Merlin) was 4,900 ft/min.

    [ref: Twin Mustang by Alan Carey]

  • A Twin Mustang shot down a Yak-9 fighter in Korea:

    The Yak-9 was actually a very good propeller fighter, near to a Spitfire in performance. Yak-9 had a rearward radiator like a P-51. Although not truly swept-back, its wings were angled at front and back.

    picture of Yak-9 picture of Yak-9

  • F-82 Twin Mustang vs P-38 Lightning (Edgar Schmued vs Kelly Johnson)
  • Turboprop Twin Mustang:

    NAA proposed to build a Twin Mustang powered by turbo-props. Cockpits were moved far forward. Drawings were made. Never built.

Mid-Engine Mustang

picture of a mid-engine P-51 Mustang   picture of a mid-engine P-51 Mustang
Mustang FTB mid-engine Griffon V-12

British engineers at Rolls-Royce built a Mustang prototype with a powerful Griffon V-12 engine mounted in middle with contra-rotating propellers. This could have been the best handling and most maneuverable Mustang of all. Named the "Mustang FTB" (Flying Test Bed). Development stopped because British decided to focus on jet fighters. AFAIK prototype was never finished and never flew.

[ref: "Rolls-Royce and the Mustang" by David Birch]

Mustang with a ROCKET engine

rocket-powered P-51 Mustang  P-51 Mustang with rocket engine

During WW2, NAA fitted a rocket engine to a P-51D near radiator exhaust. Speed was boosted to 513 MPH for about 1 minute. But developing a rocket-fuel tank large enough to be useful added drag, plane became unbalanced, and 500 MPH could be reached instantly in a dive or by a light-weight P-51H. Ultimately, NAA and USAAF considered modification too dangerous and ineffective.

[ref: Mustang Designer by Ray Wagner]

Mustangs with RAM-JET engines

P-51 Mustang ram jet engines   photo may look fake but it's real

P-51 with wing-tip ram-jets   P-51 with wing-tip ram-jets

P-51 with under-wing ram-jets   P-51 with under-wing ram-jets

Two P-51s were fitted with jet engines of different types.

One had pulse jets under wings (based on German design?). (Haven't found information about speed boost nor when it was made.)

Another had US Marquardt ram jets on wing-tips. Speed was boosted by 50 MPH and was made after WWII in 1946.

YouTube video of P-80 with ram-jets

[ref: Marquardt (wikipedia)]

Mustangs with SWEPT WINGS

P-51 Mustang forward swept wings    North American designed a Mustang with forward-swept wings and piston/jet engines.

North American FJ-1 and FJ-2 Fury    The swept-wing F-86 Sabre was an evolution of the Mustang. North American started F-86 in 1945, and straight-wing engine-less F-86 prototype was made before WWII ended [photo in Ray Wagner book]. Even earlier, Sabre's "older sister", the FJ-1 Fury, designed in 1944, was obviously a Mustang with a jet engine.

The racer "Miss Ashley", a replica P-51, was built with swept-back wings (from a Learjet IIRC).

P-51 Mustang Miss Ashley swept wings

[ref: Mustang Designer by Ray Wagner]

Mustang with FORWARD-SWEPT WINGS and PISTON/JET engines

P-51 Mustang forward swept wings pictures of forward-swept P-51

P-51 Mustang forward swept wings drawing

North American designed a P-51 with forward-swept wings and a secondary jet engine. Only a wind-tunnel model was built. Initial sweep angle was too great (wings would've bent off at high speed and AoA) and was reduced to 15 degrees. Dihedral angle was great (to compensate for forward sweep, AFAIK).

Boeing's "Sweeping Changes":   "In the quest for increased maneuverability, the top post World War II U.S. fighter, the P-51 Mustang, was selected for the new wing. Boeing predecessor company North American Aviation designed an FSW P-51 concept. However, during wind tunnel tests the rigid aluminum wings twisted asymmetrically, indicating potential loss of control. Further testing determined the wings had to be limited to 15-degrees forward sweep. Increased speed and high g-force turns would lead to structural divergence, or wing separation. The FSW P-51 was never built."

[ref: North American P-51 Mustang by Frederick Johnsen]
[ref: Boeing's "Sweeping Changes"]

Cavalier/Piper Mustangs

Piper Enforcer Mustang

A sour chapter in Mustang's history (IMO).

Cavalier began by refurbishing war-surplus Mustangs. However, when Merlin engine parts became scarce, Cavalier made conversions to turboprops ("Cavalier Turbo Mustang"). But these conversions were hack jobs. Judging from its misshapen nose, Cavalier didn't bother to redesign nose/fuselage. (These turboprop conversions are so ugly, refuse to show pictures of them).

As late as the 1980s, USAF evaluated the Piper Enforcer for close-air-support role (which in Korea, Mustang proved terribly ill-suited). Based on Cavalier turboprop, Piper streamlined nose and fuselage properly, but its turboprop exhaust was asymmetric, which may have caused yaw instability. The Enforcer was miserably slow at ~350 MPH. USAF chose the A-10 Warthog which was specifically designed for this role. Piper's Enforcer project made little sense. Piper had to redesign 70% of airframe parts, yet chose to keep P-51 layout, but it has a fundamental problem that's unacceptable in modern air forces: P-51's forward visibility was poor.

Clones/Imitations

The Mustang's design had influences on several other propeller aircraft.

picture of a MB5 replica British Martin-Baker MB5 resembled a Mustang.
picture of CAC CA-15 Australia tried to develop their CAC CA-15 Kangaroo fighter which had strong resemblance.
Supermarine Spiteful model The Supermarine Spiteful, although definitely a derivative of Spitfire, evolved in direction of Mustang, with square laminar-flow wings and greater streamlining.

The Mustang — evolved into a jet fighter

P-51 and F-86 similarities

P-51 --> F-86 --> F-16

North American FJ-1 and FJ-2 Fury   North American's FJ-1 straight-wing and FJ-2 swept-wing Fury jets

North American FJ-1 Fury   FJ-1 Fury jet shows its evolution from Mustang

Heritage Flight    P-51 Mustang and F-16 Viper

North American developed the straight-winged FJ-1 Fury which was basically P-51 with jet engine. The Fury quickly developed into the F-86 Sabre which greatly resembled a P-51. Even today, many vestiges of P-51 and F-86 still exist in F-16 Viper — bubble canopy, jet's duct, and cranked vertical stabilizer.

Books

  • "Mustang Designer: Edgar Schmued and the P-51" by Ray Wagner.

    P-51 Mustang designer book

    Like its title says, it's about Schmued and also the design of the P-51. Has info about the rocket-engined P-51s.

  • "Mustang: The Story of the P-51 Fighter" by Robert Gruenhagen.

    Mustang The Story of the P-51 Fighter book

    Perhaps the finest book about P-51.

  • "Pilot Training Manual for the P-51 Mustang" (aka "North American P-51 Mustang Pilot Training Manual").

    P-51 Mustang Pilot Training Manual

    A delightful book written for novice fighter pilots.

  • "North American P-51H Mustang (Air Force Legends 209)" by David McLaren.

    P-51H Mustang book

    Details of the four light-weight Mustang versions (XP-51F/G/H/J) with lots of pictures.

  • "Building the P-51 Mustang" by Michael O'Leary.

    Building the P-51 Mustang book

    Very detailed.

  • "North American P-51 Mustang (Warbird Tech)" by Frederick Johnsen.

    P-51 Mustang Warbird Tech book

    Contains info and drawing of forward-swept wing P-51.

  • "Twin Mustang" by Alan Carey.

    Twin Mustang Tech book

  • "Flying to the Limit: Testing WWII Single-Engined Aircraft" by Peter Caygill.

    Flying to the Limit Mustang book

    Documents abilities and limitations of P-51 and other aircraft, written from a British test pilot's POV.

  • "Hitler's Jet Plane: The Me-262 Story" by Mano Ziegler.

    Hitlers Jet Plane book

    Excellent translation, written in a narrative style (this complements Robert Dorr's book very well). Documents top speed of Me-262 as reported by a defector, and disillusionment of German pilots after finding Me-262 was dangerously unreliable and their jets were nowhere near invulnerable to escorting P-51s.

  • "Fighting Hitler's Jets" by Robert Dorr.

    Fighting Hitlers Jets book

    Excellent book write in a narrative style but short of technical details. Documents about 100 cases of Me-262s shot down by P-51 (and even P-47) fighters (omits kills by British Spitfires and Tempests being a book from US POV).

Movies, TV Shows

  • History Channel's "Dogfights"

    History Channel's Dogfights is excellent. One episode was devoted to P-51 and a few other episodes have segments with P-51. Note that occassional minor inaccuracies appear in Dogfights.

  • "Red Tails"

    CGI dogfights are awesome. Just press FWD to dogfights (rest of movie is trash).

  • Mustangs have appeared in many movies and TV shows. Steven Spielberg admires P-51, he filmed them in "Saving Private Ryan" and "Empire of the Sun". Chris Carter also, he featured one in "Piper Maru" X-Files episode. "Air Power" by Walter Cronkite.

  • Awesome video of Kermit Weeks of Fantasy of Flight flying a P-51C razorback. Take-off is scary fast!! 

    Kermit Weeks flying P-51 Mustang
  • "P-51 Dragon Fighter"

    P-51 Mustangs had to battle:
    - Nazi JET and ROCKET fighters.
    - Nazi FLYING SAUCERS.
    - Nazi DRAGONS.

    P-51 Dragon Fighter movie    P-51 Dragon Fighter movie

  • Declassified top-secret film showing a P-51 chasing and dogfighting a UFO over France.

    P-51 Mustang chased by UFO

Comparisons

P-51 Mustang and Me-262 replica together

Nearly all fighters of WWII had same basic puller-propeller monoplane design that first appeared in mid-1930s, first of which was Me-109. Mustang's design was refined rather than radical, but it had important innovations from which it excelled. Its higher speed and range resulted from its laminar-flow wings, its radiator inlet/outlet provided net thrust, and its streamlined airframe had extremely low drag. Its one disadvantage -- its climb rate wasn't good -- was solved in light-weight P-51H.

There's no doubt Germans were the most advanced in aeronautical design. Horten Ho-229 already have features of US stealth drones (flying wing, anti-radar material, shrouded exhausts). Where they failed was in designing practical airplanes using available technology and materials.

P-51 Mustang vs Spitfire

Main difference was size: Spitfire small, Mustang big. Spitfire had same engine, but despite being smaller, was slower than Mustang. Spitfire was lighter, climbed faster, and more maneuverable at lower speeds. Its elliptical wings made Spitfire beautiful and turn more tightly. A Mustang trying the trick of dropping flaps still couldn't quite turn with a Spitfire. Early Spitfire had superb maneuverability and graceful handling. But at 400+ MPH, a Spitfire's controls stiffened and its maneuverability decreased, while laminar-winged Mustang was designed to fly optimally at 400+ MPH. So in a turning contest, Spitfire would win, but at high-speeds or high-altitude, Mustang would win. Should be noted that Spitfire developed into a different airplane (Spiteful), as later marks became much faster but handling worsened.

P-51 Mustang and Spitfire P-51B Mustang razorback

P-51 Mustang vs P-47 Thunderbolt

P-47 Thunderbolt had one colossal advantage -- sturdiness -- it could keep flying after suffering severe damage that would've destroyed any other fighter. It was the Tiger tank of the air. Many German pilots were astounded to fire all their ammunition at a P-47 yet it continued flying. P-47 kept rookie pilots alive so they would become aces, contributing to annihilation of Luftwaffe. Not sure why P-47 didn't have a propeller cone like a FW-190 or Sea Fury to reduce frontal drag, which wasted its engine's nearly 1,000 HP advantage.

P-47 Big Ass Bird

P-51 Mustang vs F4U Corsair

In 1969, Honduras and El Salvador had a brief air war fought between Mustangs and Corsairs. One Honduras Corsair shot down an El Salvadoran Mustang and another Corsair (both nations had Corsairs).

F-82 Twin Mustang vs P-38 Lightning
(Edgar Schmued vs Kelly Johnson)

F-82 Twin Mustang drawing P-38 Lightning

Lockheed's Kelly Johnson was a genuis, but North American Aviation's Edgar Schmued designed a superior twin-engine fighter.

P-38 Lightning had far greater drag with a stub fuselage for cockpit.

F-82 Twin Mustang was ~80 MPH faster, almost as maneuverable as P-51, with a range equal to a B-29 Superfortress.

A design is a team effort. But in this case, Schmued deserves much credit. Schmued drew the original blueprint and was awarded a US patent (#D144,938 in June 4, 1946) for F-82's twin-fuselage design.

P-38 had two engines, suited to flying over Pacific, and its turbo-superchargers muffled engine, making it a quiet comfortable plane. F-82 Twin Mustang had advantages in range, speed, and probably maneuverability.

A false rumor persists that Twin Mustang was based on Me-609, a Me-109 with two fuselages, but they were independent designs. Schmued had the idea in 1940 before Me-609 prototype was built in 1941.

P-51 Mustang vs Zero

Zero could out-turn P-51 (and everything else). But it was very slow and fragile. P-51 pilots were advised to attack it at high speeds and then climb away.

P-51 Mustang vs Me-109

Although innovative in 1935, by 1943, Me-109 was out-classed. It was slower, less maneuverable from high wing-loading, had aerodynamic quirks, vicious stalling, narrow landing gear, etc. Only veteran or lucky German pilots could survive in a Me-109.

P-51 Mustang vs FW-190

The nemesis of the P-51 wasn't the jet Me-262 -- it was the radial engine FW-190. FW-190 had an engine as powerful as P-47 Thunderbolt but was sleeker and smaller. An innovation it had was electrically-operated control surfaces. At low-altitude, P-51 and FW-190 were evenly matched. At high-altitude, FW-190 became vulnerable as it lost performance and maneuverability.

P-51 and FW-190 in museum

P-51 Mustang vs Me-262 Schwalbe jet

P-51 Mustang and Me-262 replica together
P-51 Mustang vs Me-262  © Len Krenzler (actionart.ca)
P-51 Mustang vs Me-262  (unknown artist)
P-51 Mustang ram jets can catch Me-262  real photo of P-51 with ram-jets (but in 1946 after WWII)

(First, actual top speed depends on altitude and other factors.)

Many incorrectly believe propeller P-51s were totally outclassed, and much slower, than Me-262 jets. Me-262's top speed was reported as 515 MPH or 540 MPH [ref: Ziegler for 515 MPH]. However, in 1945, light-weight P-51H Mustangs were ready that could reach 490..500 MPH. [ref: Wagner, McLaren]. Both Me-262 and P-51H could only sustain their top speed for no more than 10 minutes without damaging their engines [ref: Ziegler, McLaren]. Prior to engagement, Me-262s were climbing at ~350 MPH up to US bombers's altitude, while Mustangs were idling at ~200 MPH while escorting slow bombers.

Many P-51 pilots shot down Me-262s by doing a Split-S maneuver [ref: Roscoe Brown, Candelaria], as within seconds, a P-51 would reach 500+ MPH [ref: P-51 flight manual]. Trials of P-51 proved it kept its speed built in a dive because of its low drag [ref: Caygill]. German Me-262 pilots reported they could not outrun a P-51 in a dive (Nowotny apparently was shot down after failing to outdive Mustangs) [ref: Ziegler].

P-51 and other prop fighters could easily outmaneuver Me-262. If a Me-262 ever slowed down, it was vulnerable, because its jet engines provided far less acceleration than a propeller (pushing throttle on a Merlin engine shoved pilots back into their seats). Me-262 pilots were supposed to limit themselves to hit-and-run tactics on American bombers, never circling back if they missed, maintaining their speed to stay away from pouncing Mustangs. Forcing them to stay away, ironically, was the goal of escorting Mustangs.

Faster light-weight P-51H might have been the equal of Me-262 in a straight-line race, but before it could be deployed in Europe, slower P-51D Mustangs had succeeded in vanquishing them.

Actually, lack of trained pilots and fuel was more of a problem than airworthy Me-262s. Ziegler's book describes how in 1945 surviving German pilots continued to fight even though they knew they would be completely outnumbered and ultimately overwhelmed by multitudes of attacking Mustangs.

In the movie Red Tails, a P-51 firing head-on against a Me-262 was contrived by Lucas for drama, but in reality, would've been stupid. Me-262's nose was packed with large cannons and machine guns for destroying bombers, so Mustang would've been blown to bits! The somersault-while-firing trick was actually done by Richard Candelaria of another USAAF squadron [ref: History Channel's "Dogfights"].

[ref: Hitlers Jet Plane by Mano Ziegler]
[ref: Fighting Hitlers Jets by Robert Dorr]
[ref: North American P-51H Mustang by David McLaren]
[ref: Flying to the Limit by Peter Caygill]
[ref: Pilot Training Manual for the P-51 Mustang]
[ref: History Channel's "Dogfights", interview of Roscoe Brown and Richard Candelaria]

P-51 Mustang vs Me-163 Komet rocket

Me-163 Komet rocket fighter

Top speed of Me-163 was 600 MPH. Its climb rate was phenomenal, twice as much as a P-51H or F-82, and wasn't surpassed until advent of jet fighters like F-86 and MiG-15. Unlike the heavy Me-262, the Me-163 was very agile.

While it had rocket fuel, a Me-163 was untouchable. But after it used its fuel, it was defenseless.

A Me-163 descended thru a group of B-17 bombers and picked a straggler. A P-51 of 359th FG (Lt. Col. Murphy) was barely able to pursue it and hit it from 1,000 yards. Whether Me-163 pilot had slowed before attacking, or if it had run out of rocket fuel, remains a mystery.

[ref: 359th Fighter Group by Jack H. Smith]
[ref: video: "Eighth Air Force Fighter Combat vs ME-163 Rocket-Propelled and ME-162 Jet-Propelled Aircraft"]

P-51/F-82 vs MiG-15 jet (??)

P-51 and F-80 jet were definitely outclassed by near-supersonic MiG-15.

Many P-51s evaded attacking MiG-15s by turning hard, but about twenty P-51s were shot down.

Did a P-51 ever shoot down a MiG-15?

Books researched for this webpage, whose authors researched official combat records, say no type of Mustang ever scored a MiG-15 kill in Korea, but...

But Mustang pilots Maj. John Yingling and Col. Joseph Rogers claim they shot down MiG-15s.

In Air Force's Airman publication, Yingling claims his MiG-15 kill was confirmed, and he was awarded a medal, but this was kept off official records since MiG-15 pilot seemed to be Russian.

US Air Force (af.mil): "Mr. Yingling is a World War II veteran of the Navy and began his Air Force Service in 1950 at the onset of the Korean Conflict. He is the only P-51 Mustang fighter pilot to shoot down a MiG 15."

LA Times: "He [Col. Joseph Rogers] more than made up for his lack of combat in the Korean War -- flying 170 missions in a P-51 Mustang, a piston-engine plane in which he shot down a Soviet MIG jet."

f-106deltadart.com: "On November 8, 1950, the then Capt. Rogers achieved a rare MiG-15 jet kill while flying in his piston-engine F-51D Mustang named Buckeye Blitz VI. 'This was unusual because of the speed differences between the two planes,' said Jim Cook, master crew chief at the Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa and an old friend of Col. Rogers. 'He was doing around 350 mph, and the jet was doing 450. There were four MiGs, and they were so much faster. They came over the top of Joe, and he took a lucky shot at them.'"

On Internet, a reference to the book "P-51 Mustang: From 1940 to 1980" claims P-51s shot down MiG-15s in South Korea, but reverse seems more likely, or Mustangs really shot down early MiG-3 propeller fighters (?).

US F-51 pilots trained against US jets and mentioned that scoring a hit on a MiG-15 would be very difficult:
koreanwar.org: "Although our propeller-driven F-51 Mustangs were no match for the fast jets in air-to-air battles, we knew from our simulated 'dogfights' between our F-80 jets and the Mustangs, that the '51 could survive a jet confrontation ...but only if strict, disciplined defensive tactics were applied, with very precise timing of each defensive maneuver. For example: the great speed advantage of the jets could be somewhat offset by the much tighter turning radius of the Mustang. So, when attacked by jets, the '51 pilot would have to keep a close eye on the attacking enemy fighter and make an abrupt, tight turn into the attacker at just the precise moment before the jet came into firing range. In that way the Mustang would have equal opportunity to fire at the jet in a head-on pass... trading gun for gun and for the moment, eliminating the enemy's advantage of speed."

[ref: Flying to the Limit by Peter Caygill]
[ref: P-51 shot down MiG-15 ?? (Air Force af.mil)]
[ref: P-51 shot down MiG-15 ?? (LA Times)]
[ref: P-51 shot down MiG-15 ?? (arlingtoncemetry.net)]
[ref: P-51 shot down MiG-15 ?? (conservapedia.com)]
[ref: P-51 shot down MiG-15 ?? (f-106deltadart.com)]
[ref: koreanwar.org]
[ref: Air Force Airman Winter 2007]
[ref: History Channel's "Dogfights"]
[ref: "P-51 Mustang: From 1940 to 1980" book]