More than 14,000 P-40 airplanes were built during World War II. The P-40, though often slower and less maneuverable than its counterparts, could withstand amazing amounts of battle damage and could out dive most of its adversaries.
P-40E Kittyhawk version was built for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The aircraft carries the markings of the Flying Tigers, the popular name for the American Volunteer Group (AVG). Led by Claire Chennault, the AVG consisted of pilots recruited from US Forces and contracted with Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalist Chinese Air Force. The Tigers are credited with 299 confirmed enemy aircraft destroyed during their service from 1941-1942.
This particular airworthy fighter flew primarily as a trainer for the RAF. It changed ownership before being shipped to Hawaii in 1969 for the filming of Tora! Tora! Tora! The Flying Tiger Line purchased and restored the aircraft in 1980-1981. The paint represents ship number 67, Third Pursuit Squadron (“Hells Angels”), AVG. The airplane is a memorial to Flying Tiger Line founder AVG ace Robert Prescott, and the Flying Tigers in China, many of whom signed the left (AVG pilots) and right (AVG support crew) horizontals during a reunion in 1981.
Please visit “P-40 Warhawks and Claire Chennault’s Flying Tigers (Pearl Harbor)” blog post for more information on this aircraft.