What would you do if you won the lottery? Well if it was me I would be browsing vintage aircraft for sale. And it just so happens this original XP-82 Twin Mustang is available for a cool $10,000,000.
Yes, this is a real aircraft. The idea of the XP-82 is two P-51 Mustangs bolted together when in reality they share very few parts. The P-82/F-82 was supposed to be used as a long-range escort fighter for the B-29 and fly missions longer than 2,000 miles.
However, with the XP-82’s first flight in 1945, it missed the end of the war and wasn’t introduced into service until 1946. Germany also had a very similar idea with the BF-109Z “Zwilling”. However, only one of these was built and it never flew due to being damaged in an Allied bombing raid in 1943.
Thanks to the development in jet engine technology, the P-82’s future was uncertain as soon as it was introduced. But it did see use in the Korean War, where they were among the first US aircraft to fly in Korea where they scored three aerial victories.
XP-82 – N887XP
This particular aircraft had a tough life. Built as a pre-production XP-82 this was one of the test aircraft used for evaluation. The ‘X’ denotes the fact that it is an experimental vehicle and not quite at the production stage.
N887XP was built in 1944 and was given the serial number 44-83887. This is one of two XP-82s (there were also two XP-82A models) that were ever made and were accepted in the US Army Air Force in 1945. Her first-ever flight, and the first-ever Twin Mustang flight, was on 15th April of that year.
In 1947 this aircraft was transferred to NACA and used as an evaluation testbed for Ramjet technology. But unfortunately in May 1950 it was involved in an accident upon landing and badly damaged.
It was then acquired by the Soplata Aviation Collection in 1965 who paid $300 for it without engines or weapons. At the time war birds were still relatively common and rarely cost more than their weight in scrap and Walter Soplata added this XP-82 to his growing family of aircraft. He had actually bought the other XP-82 but severely damaged it by cutting up the wings for transportation.
Later Soplata realised that he could have dismantled the first XP-82 without the need for cutting it up. Upset by his mistake he bought N887XP and learned his lesson by disassembling it in a more gentle fashion.
But unfortunately, this XP-82 seemingly fell into a greater state of disrepair and was split into the two separate fuselages with many parts lost. It was not until much later in 2008 that interest in this aircraft began to pick up when Tom Reilly purchased the right fuselage along with some spare parts from Soplata and decided to kick off a full nut and bolt restoration.
By the middle of July, Reilly had amassed both fuselages as well as a large haul of parts and after several years of huge effort, the project was completed in 2019 with the FAA certifying the aircraft for flight.
11 years of restoration work was put to the test when N887XP first took the skies again. Naturally being such a rare aircraft she made appearances at airshows across the country winning several awards.
She is very close to the day she was first built with dual controls and the ability to be flown from both cockpits. No paint has been applied to the aircraft either to ensure that it remains as faithful as possible to the way she was in 1944.
The entire project took over 200,000 man-hours of work and makes N887XP one of five P-82/F-82s left in the world and you can check out the sale here – Platinum Fighters.