Today’s aviation photo showcases one of the most iconic aircraft engines out there: the legendary Rolls Royce Merlin!
The Merlin is a beautiful machine. Pumping out well over a thousand horsepower at altitude, she has power to spare. Fuel injection and turbocharging increase power output and therefore maneuverability at altitude. The Mustang would not be so famous were it not for the beauty under the cowling.
While the Merlin is best known for powering the P-51 Mustang, it was also used in the Spitfire, Hurricane, Mosquito, and Lancaster aircraft during the war. After the war, the Merlin saw a variety of civilian use; some lunatics even managed to rig cars to run on the Merlin. I’m not a muscle car guy but I would pay scads of money for a Merlin-powered automobile just because it’s awesome.
On top of all that is the sweet sound the Merlin makes. Something about the purr of the engine and the airflow over the Mustang’s frame give a Merlin-powered P-51 a noise that is like music to an avgeek’s ears. Distinct from the radial rumble that seems to define warbirds of the era, the Merlin makes a sound one could almost call…magic. TURN UP YOUR SPEAKERS, and enjoy this symphony of avgas and pistons.