The US Army purchased three P-51D Mustangs to fly as chase aircraft for the Lockheed AH-56A Cheyenne flight test program. Aircraft 44-72990 was a fairly stock P-51D with an extended canopy, while the other two were Cavalier F-51Ds (68-15795 and 68-15796) with wing tip tanks and extended vertical tails and canopies. The #3 AH-56A (1003, 66-8828) was used for test handling qualities, measure flight loads and engine/transmission performance. Tragically, this aircraft was lost due to a phenomenon known as " half p hop", and test pilot David Beil was killed when the main rotor blades sliced into the canopy. Mustang 44-72990 would become the last P-51 operated by the US military.
This fantastic aircraft was able to achieve 245 mph in level flight, but never saw a production contract. Many have speculated that this was due politics (mostly) and inter service rivalry.
*The original painting is available for purchase. Painting dimensions in inches: 22 x 24 acrylic on gessoboard. Contact the artist and reference: "Cheyenne Chase” for more information.
Signed prints are available on this site by clicking on the "add to cart" option. Print size in inches: 16 x 20 on 18 x 22 paper.
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