Retractable Snowskis for P51 Mustang

P51 Mustang on Snow Skis

Believe it or Else.

Immediately upon entering the display area of the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa ID, I came face to face with a familiar looking WWII fighter. But, there was a twist. This early model P51 had Snow Skis. The skis appear to be made of aluminum frame with plywood running surfaces, and they are retractable! Think of how that would improve skiplane performance in your Cub.

P51 with Snow Skis
P51C with Snow Skis

Seems that during WWII the US military experimented with fighters on skis to provide protection in Alaska and Northern Canada. The retractable skis¬† only slow the Mustang a few miles per hour and did not affect the use of guns or bombs. For a variety of reasons, the experimental ski equipped fighter never made it into production. But, I sure would love to fly it on to some of Wisconsin’s frozen lakes and watch the crowds gather as I sip a hot coffee and watch their puzzled faces.

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