The Gunfighter is a "D" model, serial number 44-73264
The Gunfighter is a "D" model, serial number 44-73264, which was the most produced P-51 model during the War with over 8,000 built. Today, about 140 Mustangs exist, world-wide, in Museums, flying or under restoration. No country in the world any longer flies the Mustang as part of their inventory. The Dominican Republic was the last country to do so and sold those aircraft on the civilian market in 1985.
44-73264 was built in the North American plant in Inglewood, California as a P-51D-25-NA, and accepted into the USAAF in March, 1945. That same month, it was trans-shipped to England, where it was assigned to the famous 'Mighty Eighth' Air Force. In July of the same year, after the War had ended in Europe, it was returned to the U.S. and assigned to Olmstead Field in Pennsylvania, where it remained until 1947. For the next nine years the aircraft served with Air National Guard units in four States; Wyoming, New Mexico, Illinois and finally the Kentucky ANG, where in 1956, it was declared surplus and sold on the civilian market.
44-73264 is restored in the colors of the 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, 66th Fighter Wing, 8th Air Force, USAAF, using the nose art "Gunfighter", providing the name by which the aircraft is widely known. The 55th Fighter Group was the first American Air Force unit to become operational in the Lockheed P-38 Lightning prior to transitioning into the P-51. On March 3, 1944, the 55th Fighter Group was the first USAAF combat unit to fly over Berlin and was one of the units to provide top cover over the Invasion Beaches at Normandy on "D-Day", June 6th, 1944.
All armor plate and armament have been removed from Gunfighter and the average gross weight is approximately 7,500 lbs. The current maximum fuel capacity is 184 gallons. The engine is a twelve cylinder in a 'V' configuration, rated at 1,490 HP and has a displacement of 1650 cubic inches. It is equipped with a supercharger which allows for a service ceiling of 41,000 feet.
Gunfighter was maintained and flown in support of the Mission of the Confederate/Commemorative Air Force for 30 years from 1977 through 2007, by Reg Urschler, who was sole Sponsor and pilot during that period. Reg served 32 years on active service with the United States Air Force, logging in excess of 13,000 flying hours. He retired as a Brigadier General and now resides in Bellevue, Nebraska. Reg flew Gunfighter in excess of 3,300 hours on some 1,950 flights.