Given the incredible success of the P-51 Mustang during the Second World War, it’s perhaps no surprise that the United States entertained the idea of combining two of the iconic fighters on the same wing to create a long-range fighter that could escort bombers into Japan. But the war ended before the F-82 “Twin Mustang” became operational, and the advent of jet fighters ultimately made the idea obsolete. Just five examples of this unique piece of history are known to exist, and the only one in airworthy condition can now be yours.
Assuming you’ve got $12 million laying around, anyway. Even for a flyable WWII fighter, that’s a record setting price tag. But on the other hand, you’d certainly be getting your money’s worth. It took over a decade for legendary restoration expert [Tom Reilly] and his team to piece the plane, which is actually a prototype XP-82 variant, together from junkyard finds. Even then, many of the parts necessary to get this one-of-a-kind aircraft back in the sky simply no longer existed. The team had to turn to modern techniques like CNC machining and additive manufacturing to produce the necessary components, in some cases literally mirroring the design in software so it could be produced in left and right hand versions.
We first covered this incredible restoration project back in 2018, before the reborn XP-82 had actually taken its first flight. Since then the plane has gone on to delight crowds with the sound of two counter-rotating Merlin V-12 engines and win several awards at the Oshkosh airshow. The listing for the aircraft indicates it only has 25 hours on the clock, but given its rarity, we can’t blame [Tom] and his crew for keeping the joyrides to a minimum.
As important as it is to make sure these incredible pieces of engineering aren’t lost to history, the recent crash of the B-17G Nine-O-Nine was a heartbreaking reminder that there’s an inherent element of risk to flying these 70+ year old aircraft. A world-class restoration and newly manufactured parts doesn’t remove the possibility of human error or freak weather. While we’d love to see and hear this beauty taxiing around our local airport, it’s a warbird that should probably stay safely in the roost. Hopefully the $12 million price tag will insure whoever takes ownership of the world’s only flying F-82 treats it with the respect it’s due.