How I got into aircraft building: a short personal history
Already in 1993 I was dreaming of building and having my own airplane. At that time I graduated university since a couple of years and I was flying as flight attendant. Next to this I was training for my commercial pilot license. I used to buy Kit Plane Magazine each time I visited the USA, reading it from front to back. Pretty soon my attention was drawn to a very small add from a Mr. Chris Falconar: P-51 drawings... 1- and 2-seater, 70% scale, for an info package sent $10,-. I mailed the money, and within short time I received the requested package. Wow!!! My only problem then was the fact that I was not ready for building it... yet.
Through the years building and owning my own airplane(-s) never left my mind for a long time, and eight years later I decided the time had come to cut the knot: I bought the drawings, thinking if they are as good as advertised, I am going to build this Mustang. Most probably you won’t be surprised if I tell you that they are good indeed!
Not having been able to fly the aircraft, so far the only real downside of the SAL Mustang is – in my opinion - the fact that it is not a full-scale Mustang. To be honest, I prefer these things the original way and size. However, the fact that for an average civilian it is already hardly possible to afford one hour of flighttime on a real Mustang, let alone own and pay maintenance costs, gives me enough peace of mind to accept the scale-down situation. What strengthened me in my choice is the statement from guys who have flown both the real thing and de SAL Mustang; they say handling characteristics are very similar to the original... Well, this promises a lot of fun in the future!
I know there are several other P-51 D Mustang replica drawing sets and even kits on the market, but in my opinion of all these 70% scale projects, Falconar’s Mustang resembles the original the best. You can read more about this replica in the chapter about its history. Another major advantage is the fact that since there is nothing better than sharing the fun of flying with somebody else, you can build a 2-seater version. This is also reason for choosing the Mustang in general, and this one in particular: the P-51 is the only World War II fighter that can be turned into a two-seater version without totally ruining the appearance of the original design.
So now you start browsing through my site and you notice that there’s more going on in my workshop than just building a Mustang... Your next question might be “Why two projects at one time? Is this guy crazy, impatient or what else is wrong?”
Impatient? Of course! There is so much to do and so little time to do it. Life’s too short. Crazy? You might call it that way, but I’ll deny! If you call it plane-crazy we might start a discussion. Okay, I am just kidding. To be frank, I look at the Mustang not only as an aircraft I really like to build and fly, but also as the project by which I gain enough building experience and by which I’ll learn the various skills needed to build an aircraft completely by myself.
Being a pilot I also want to fly different aircraft, travel with them to various places and in the meantime enjoying the fun of flying. Today’s world gets smaller thanks to aviation, television, internet and various other types of media. In my eyes the “Grand Era of the Adventure of Flight” lies already years and years behind us. I am earning my living as airline pilot, and I am having a lot of fun doing so. But real flying…? I think most of all it happened before my time, before the fifties of last century. Maybe I was born late, but on the other hand I think: why not relive this time myself? In this century! Yes!!! That’s why I can’t wait to finish one aircraft at the time. This is why I also had to start a second project next to the Mustang. The Mustang will provide me/us with the thrill of flying, but the other one will be the aircraft which will take us into the big adventure of flying. Once it is finished, the second part of our website will become active as well, and you will be able to share our adventures via the internet. We’ll let you share the fun and give you the impression to be part of our team. By this time you will also be explained why we named our website “SOS-Eisberg”. Up till then a lot of work still has to be done!
Although all the building activities are done myself, Marc, I use the word “we” on a regular basis, because in future the big flying adventures will not be done just by me; it will be teamwork. There is a lot going on here, and we keep you posted via this site.
|North American P-51 D Mustang||SAL P-51 D Mustang 2 seater*|
|Length||9.83 m||7.16 m|
|Height||4.17 m||2.13 m|
|Wingspan||11.29 m||7.57 m|
|Wing area||21.66 m²||10.30 m²|
|Wing loading||-||19.8 Lbs/Sq Ft (Max)|
|Empty Weight||3463 kg||646kg|
|Max Takeoff Weight||5488 kg||989 kg|
|Brake Horsepower||1649 hp||250-300 hp|
|Fuel Capacity||1018 Ltr||117 Ltr|
|with drop tanks||1851 Ltr||?? Ltr|
|Fuel consumption||-||±35 Ltr/Hr|
|Range||1155 Nm (no drop tanks)||-|
|Service Ceiling||41.900 Ft||not proven|
|Max Cruise Speed||294 kts at 20.000 ft||212 mph Sea level|
|Never Exceed Speed||-||252 mph|
|Design Stall Speed Flaps||-||60 mph|
*) Definitive data can only be provided after the aircraft has been tested