XP-82 Gains Her Outer Wings and Cranks Her Merlins!

Photo by Louisa Barendse
United Fuel Cells

Photo by Louisa Barendse
Photo by Louisa Barendse

Following the momentous news over last weekend concerning the XP-82 Twin Mustang’s first engine runs in Douglas, Georgia, we wanted to know a few more details. A lot of major developments have been occurring with this incredible project in recent weeks, what with the move to a new, much larger hangar, attaching the outer wing panels for the first time, and of course the engine runs. We contacted Tom Reilly to learn more about what his restoration team has been up to, and thought our readers would be as eager as we were to see his responses… so here they are!

Photo by Louisa Barendse
Photo by Louisa Barendse

WN: When did you move the XP-82 from the project hangar, and did you move the shop as well?
TR: The XP was moved to the other hangar on 12 October. We are now located on the other side of the airport in the most southern hangar. A partial shop was moved, only what we need to compete the restoration.

WN: How did the outer wing panel installation go?
The wing installation went smoothly and only took minutes. They went on with no issues, and are temporarily installed at this time.

WN: Who conducted the engine tests?
  The General Manager of Vintage V12s [Ed. José Flores] was here and did the starts.

WN: How did the engine runs go, and did you test any other systems?
TR: The runs went great on the first starts. Other than temps and pressures, no other systems were brought online.

WN: Was there a reason for conducting the first engine runs inside the hangar?
TR: It was raining. The fire department was onsite.

WN: The video shows just one engine being run, did you test both engines?
TR: Yes

WN: What restoration items are still remaining?
TR: Main and tail gear doors, top cowls, coolant door motor wiring and retractions.

WN: Do you have any tentative dates for a first flight, or pilots in mind to conduct it?
TR: No date for the first flight yet. We have talked to warbird test pilots Ray Fowler and Eliot Cross.

WN: How would you sum up the project so far?
TR:  … It has been 8 years and one of the most enjoyable restorations that I have worked on ever!

WarbirdsNews wishes to thank Tom Reilly and Louisa Barendse for spending time with us and sharing some of the recent details of the work going on with this exciting project. We hope to provide news of addition progress very soon. To visit the restoration’s blog, please click HERE.



  1. Gentlemen, thank you for your immeasurable efforts. There must be a place to admire and appreciate what our fathers and grandfathers did back in the war.
    And you’ve provided an answer to an old claim, which no one believed.
    My now deceased father-in-law was a B-24 pilot in the European Theater. On those occasions when he would talk about his experiences he and I had many a long and interesting conversation.
    He made one claim to which neither his wife nor children gave any credence. As a veteran myself I understood why he seldom mentioned it but was really intrigued.
    Before assignment to Europe he claims to have flown a twin fuselage Mustang out of an unnamed military post in the South. He called it a prototype and was proud to have gotten behind the stick. Said it was difficult to make smooth banking turns but that they’d figure it out.
    That’s the end of the story. I had almost forgotten about his moment in the sun but I am glad he’s been found honest about the claim.
    Thanks again.

  2. Is this the airplane from Walter Soplata in Newbury Ohio.
    I know he had one years ago in his backyard along with
    a lot of other treasures.

  3. Not to be a nitpicker but as I recall from my aircraft history, P 82s were built with Allison engines not RR or Packard Merlins.

    • One of the advantages of the Allison was/is that the prop rotation direction can be in either direction by changing the timing, thus the reason P 38s had counter rotating props as compared with Mosquitoes with Merlins that did not. So did the P 82s, another reason for using Allison engines.

  4. Yes it is according to several P/F 82 specific articles and other writings I have researched over the years. Further, there are very few interchangeable parts between any model of the P/F 51 and the P/F 82. They look similar but they are very different.

  5. Hi my name is Brad I am in Acworth Georgia visiting family and would love to see the XP82 while we’re here. I worked with Jose Flores at Vintage V12 for about 8 years. Is there any chance of coming by before I fly back to California on the 28th? Please let me know the address and any other information I might need. Thanks

Graphic Design, Branding and Aviation Art

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.