The aircraft on display is the Montanair Mustang. This aircraft is an 8/10 scale copy of its big brother, the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang. It is a “Proof of Concept” aircraft design built by Jim Smith and his Montanair company.
Only 18 months from concept to first flight, the Montanair Mustang was originally intended to be available to consumers as a “kit built” airplane. As conceived, the basic airframe could be adapted to represent a Mustang, Spitfire, Me 109 or any number of low-wing, single-engine fighters.
Because of the difficulty of obtaining the requisite scaled-down V-12 engine of its full-sized stable-mate, the Montanair Mustang is fitted with two Ford Mustang 3.8 Liter, fuel injected, V-6 engines of 165 hp each. Rather than “weld” the two engines together to create a V-12, the separate engines are joined by a specially fabricated “Spider” linkage. The Spider absorbs vibrations and power impulses and allows the two engines to be run together for maximum power or either engine can be run independently for economy cruise. During single-engine operation the “dead” engine will freewheel easily with very little drag on the operating engine. Power is delivered through a coarse gear gearbox to fiberglass molded, constant speed propeller blades. Control surfaces are operated via direct control rod linkage rather than by cable, wire or hydraulics.
Below the custom molded canopy are tandem seats with flight controls both fore and aft. The laminar-flow wings have foam-filled, molded leading edges and incorporate aluminum spars and ribs. The empennage is also foam-filled as are the rudder, elevator, ailerons and flaps.
No off-the-shelf airplane parts were used in construction of the Montanair Mustang; however, a number of automobile parts were employed. For example, in addition to the Ford Mustang engines mentioned above, a power steering pump provides hydraulic power to operate the flaps, landing gear and gear doors. Additionally, wheels and tires are made for a Honda Civic with off-the-shelf brake calipers fitted to custom discs while the two engines’ radiators are fabricated from a bus heater core.
Because of liability concerns, Ford balked at Montanair’s first order for 1000 engines thus assuring this Montanair Mustang would be the only one of its kind.