This heavily worked component on the P-51 Mustang requires frequent inspection, borescoping for internal cracks, maintenance, and attention to prevent failure, particularly if operating a 70+ year old tank.
The internal tube assemblies P/N 106-46147 are prone to cracks in a number of areas and require consistent inspection. Experience in inspecting header tanks has identified the propensity for cracking in a few select areas:
In repairing and inspecting numerous tanks over the past seven years, AirCorps has established a standard process of handling these increasingly rare, high-value components. The importance of recording serial numbers, inspecting for airworthiness by checking for cracks, corrosion, wall thickness, and finishing, if necessary, cannot be understated
We did two more landings after that and Lee progressively gave me more responsibilities. My left hand became very busy shuffling power settings, trim, and squeezing between the seat and fuselage to get to the flap handle, not to mention just flying the airplane. I gained an immediate respect for the throttle after watching the effects of torque try to drag us off the left side of the runway. As the power and stick came back for the last landing I was feeling really comfortable. The tires squeaked onto the pavement and Lee told me to ease the tail down to the runway and work the rudder pedals to keep us straight. He cracked the canopy open and the blast of cool air made me realize how hot and sweaty I'd become. John and Tony were waiting on the taxiway as we rolled past.
I took my headphones off and I could clearly hear the crackle of the Merlin bellowing a few feet away. As we came to a stop on the ramp, Lee began his shutdown procedures and the big prop slowed to a stop. After climbing out and getting cleaned up, we headed back to his office. Lee presented me with a photo of Crazy Horse, a certificate of proof, and the coveted video of my ride. Lee is by far the best instructor I've ever flown with and his love for flying, and for the Mustang, is something to be admired. I can also say that without a doubt, he gave me the most complete hour of Mustang time that I could ever ask for. On the way home the three of us compared notes and we all agreed that we needed to save our money to do this again. 2b1af7f3a8