I remember building a pretty neat model of a P-51 about 40 years ago; it had a mechanism for the landing-gear-- and the tailwheel definitly could be retracted, with two doors to close off the wheel-well.
Would an extended tailwheel help to push the tail towards the ground (considering that the plane was upside-down) and thus help to gain altitude?
Could the pilot have done that on purpose...?
I'm wondering what kind of engine that thing had.
My dad worked in a fuel-depot around the late fifties; since he had a motor-bike, one of his workmates told him of a tin underneath a leaking pipe: free Fuel!
He took the first tin he saw and filled his tank from it.
Evidently the bike went off like merry hell-- for a few hundred yards... Before blowing the cylinder-gasket.
Unfortunately, there had been more than one leaking pipe...
And this one turned out to be JP-4.
He said that on closer examination that stuff was kind of oily like Diesel- but it evaporated faster than petrol.
Strange that there was no explosion or fire after that crash.