Mustang Designer

Edgar Schmued and the P-51

Publisher: Smithsonian Books
Mustang Designer tells the story of American wartime fighter development, including engines and armaments, as part of a nationwide program of aircraft builders and fliers, focusing on Edgar Schmued, the designer of the Mustang. The P-51 Mustang is widely regarded as the best propeller-driven fighter that ever flew. What many might not realize is that the plane's developer was a German migrant. This book tells of how Schmued created a weapon that would ultimately prove lethal to the aspirations of those who had seized control over his native land.


“North American’s P-51 Mustang has consistently been regarded by many as the best propeller-driven fighter ever produced. What few people know, however, is that this exceptional plane, which protected Allied bombers and established dominance in the skies over Europe by defeating Germany’s legendary Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs, was designed by a self-taught German immigrant. Noted aviation historian Ray Wagner documents the professional life of Edgar Schmued, North American’s star design engineer and Mustang creator. . . Mustang fans will find little to fault in Wagner’s history. [The book] is a successful blend of engineering documentation and personal history, and aviation readers should thoroughly enjoy [it].”—Aviation Heritage

“The P-51 Mustang is a legend. Many knowledgeable observers consider it to be the premier long-range fighter of World War II, and those who have flown it call the Mustang one of the finest single-seat aircraft ever built. . . Drawing upon a wide variety of neglected sources, including original procurement and flight-test records, and especially Schmued's personal papers, Wagner has crafted a well-written and beautifully illustrated account that chronicles the Mustang's design history in rich and exacting detail.”—Air Power History

“This fascinating, well illustrated book . . . brings alive the struggles and triumphs of all [the] competing aircraft factories and their products in the World War II days. . . . The style is straightforward, livened up with reminiscences from many interviews and Schmued's own notes. . . . Ray Wagner has done a remarkable job.”—WASP News

Mustang Designer is a milestone in aviation historical writing because the author [looks] at aircraft design in the context of its history. . . . A must for serious readers.”—Skyways