How do you get qualified to fly planes like the P-51 mustang?

When I am older, I very much plan on becoming a pilot and buying my own aircraft some day. That being said, how do you get qualified to fly planes like the TBM-3 avenger, B-17, or P-51? I've flown Cessna 172s before.

Best Answer:

Foe Hammer: Things like P51s and Spitfires are very expensive to insure, even for damage you might do to someone else.

Your required qualifications are not necessarily those that are required to fly the aircraft, (which, in fact, are not that hard to fly), but those which your insurers think you should have.

These days they are usually only available to very experienced ex Military or Airline pilots, simply because the owners won't let anyone else fly them.

I got rated on the Mustang as quite a young pilot, back then they were used as target tugs, and that was one of my jobs. I did quite a lot of hours on Piper Cubs and Cessna 185s, so I knew how to fly a tailwheel, then it was simply a matter of spending hours in the cockpit, remembering where everything was, getting the critical speeds locked down in your head and then go fly the thing!

Of course, that was exactly what the WW2 Pilots did.

The Mustang is not hard to fly quickly, but has numerous traps for the unwary once you slow it down, The last thing you want to do, (and probably the last thing you will ever do) is get it low and slow on the approach. The wing gets very draggy at low speed and you get a very high sink rate, which you can't control with power, because the torque will roll you into the ground, a classic ''Coffin Corner''. They are quite different from a light trainer and you have to stay well ahead of the game.

The Mustang is a classic case of ''never meet your heroes'', it is nothing like as nice to fly as you might hope it was, it is very heavy on the controls and would have been exhausting to dogfight, mind you, it was built to fly straight and level, far into Germany, and for that it was ideal.

The Spitfire, on the other hand, has no such vices, it is a delightful thing to fly, although the cockpit is cramped compared to the Mustang and the controls are not always where you might expect them to be.

If you really want to fly one of these, I hope you get your chance, but the biggest qualification you need these days is pure, blind, luck. It is something few of us are privileged to do.

Other answer:

Foe Hammer:
1
John R:
First you need a whole lot of money,,,,
There are schools that offer warbird training. To learn to fly warbirds the process is much like the training used in WWII. You learn to fly a light plane, get some tailwheel time, then transition to an an AT-6 advanced trainer, and from there to bigger warbird, like a Mustang.
H:
Everything starts with a private pilot's license. You can be trained on a variety of different single engine prop aircraft, depending on the school – sometimes they even offer you a choice.

After that, you can fly any aircraft you are trained for. Some require additional training, such as instrument/multi engine ratings. If you find a certified instructor for a P51 – which I imagine will be difficult (but not impossible) to find, you'll be good to go once you receive the aircraft type rating.

Joe:
The Collings Foundation will give you an hour of training in their P-51B two-seat trainer for $3,200.

It's fundraising to keep their old warbirds flying.

If you want to learn to fly their B-17, go to work for them.

Skipper747:
Most pilots have not flown taidraggers .- so they got to learn that first –
Then learn to handle a powerful propeller engine… and "P" factor –
How many rudder trim units and where do you set it for takeoff…?

Most pilots who would fly a "warbird"- do train in a T-6 first –
I would rather fly an old fighter jet instead – less complicated…!

vic:
I want to fly a b17