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It all began with a man, David Lindsay, and his love for the P-51...
In 1957, he established Trans-Florida Aviation in Sarasota, Florida, with the objective of becoming the world's finest civilian P-51 maintenance and parts organization. Over the next 14 years, Trans-Florida (which was renamed Cavalier Aircraft Corporation in 1967) would become that and more!
Cavalier also rebuilt surplus P-51s into custom civilian and military aircraft:
Lindsay's first custom Mustang would transform the P-51 into a fast and powerful executive business aircraft. It was initially named the Executive Mustang, although by 1960 they had been renamed the Cavalier. Five different Cavalier models were offered (the Cavalier 750, 1200, 1500, 2000, and 2500), differing in fuel capacity, with the name indicating the range of the airplane. All Cavaliers were rebuilt with the ground up, removing all unneeded military equipment and adding in "black-tie" friendly features like a second seat, cockpit soundproofing, modern avionics, and a luggage storage bay.
Cavalier 2000 N451D, the corporate demo aircraft
In 1967 the US Air Force contracted with Cavalier to rebuild improved military Mustangs (incorporating most of the features and improvements of the Executive Mustang) for foreign sale. Nine single control and two dual-control F-51Ds were built, with the airplanes being issued new 67-XXXXX and 68-XXXXX serial numbers. Nine of these Cavalier F-51Ds (including the two TF-51s) were sold to Bolivia and two were sold to the US Army for use as chase aircraft.
US Army Cavalier F-51D 68-15796
Cavalier Mustang II
Cavalier developed at their own expense a derivative of the Cavalier F-51D optimized for Close Air Support and counterinsurgency operations. They called this airplane the Cavalier Mustang II. The Mustang II incorporated improved avionics, structural improvements to the wing to allow more external weapons carriage, and Rolls Royce Merlin V-1650-7 engines modified with parts from the Rolls Royve Merlin 620 engine. Mustang IIs were made in two batches, with the first group built for El Salvador in 1968 and the second group for Indonesia in 1972.
Five Mustang IIs were built for El Salvador, and they featured wingtip fuel tanks to increase combat range. Six Mustang IIs were built for Indonesia in 1972, but they did not have tip tanks.
FAS-404 and FAS-405, the last two Cavalier Mustang IIs for El Salvador, in flight over Sarasota, Florida. Note the tip tanks.
Cavalier Mustang II 72-1537, F-363 of the Indonesian Air Force, on display and looking sad!
Cavalier Turbo Mustang III
In 1968, continuing the improvements to the P-51 made with the Mustang II, Cavalier mated a Rolls Royce Dart 510 turboprop to a Mustang II airframe. The Turbo Mustang III had radically increased performance, along with associated increases in payload and decreased cost for maintenance. Despite numerous sales pitches to the US Air Force, nether the US military nor any foreign operators purchased the Turbo Mustang III
3-view of the Rolls Royce Dart turboprop-powered Cavalier Turbo Mustang III
Though the Turbo Mustang III was the last of the Cavalier Mustangs, the development of the Mustang would continue as the Piper PE-1 Enforcer (built in 1971) and later the Piper PA-48 Enforcer (built in 1983).
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