Thunder Mustang Comeback?


A Canadian company is considering resuming production of the kit-built Thunder Mustang, a three-quarter scale replica of the P-51 that’s been turning heads at the Reno Air Races. The original company closed its doors several years ago but Mike Paller says it wasn’t because of the airplane. Paller said there is demand for the $285,000 kit-built plane, which is actually faster than a real P-51 (when flown below 10,000 feet). He’s working to acquire the tooling and intellectual property from the existing owners in Oregon and hopes to resume production in Abbotsford, B.C., where he flew it in front of tens of thousands attending the Abbotsford International Airshow on the weekend. The Thunder Mustang is powered by a Falconer V-12 engine that puts out 640 hp, normally aspirated. That pushes the little fighter to a 75-percent cruise of 300 KIAS at 22-25 gallons per hour. Paller said he believes up to 2,000 hp is possible out of the engine, which is a scratch-built adaptation of a GM V-6. The engine was initially designed for marine use but adapted well to aircraft applications. The proposed kit price includes the engine and firewall-forward gear but no avionics.