The record setting Betty Jo at 71
Here we see P-82B (F-82B) Twin Mustang # 44-65168 “Betty Jo” during a test flight.
This plane, powered by a pair of Rolls Royce Merlin engines, made history when she flew nonstop from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii to La Guardia Airport in New York over the course of Feb. 27-28, 1947, without refueling, an amazing distance of 5,051 miles in 14 hr 32 min.
Betty, named for command pilot, Colonel Robert E. Thacker‘s wife, averaged 347.5 miles per hour. The aircraft carried a full internal fuel tank of 576 US gallons, augmented by four 310 US gallon tanks for a total of 1,816 US gallons. Also, Col. Thacker neglected to drop three of his external tanks when their fuel was expended, which would have reduced drag and made the flight shorter/faster.
Still, the feat remains the longest nonstop flight ever made by a propeller-driven fighter, and the fastest such a distance has ever been covered in a piston-engined aircraft.
Betty-Jo came to the Air Force museum in 1957 and is currently on display.
As for Thacker, he flew in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, earning two Silver Stars, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, 10 Air Medals and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm as well as induction into the Academy of Model Aeronautics Hall of Fame.