The first P40C restored to flight
These are from April 1998, when the first restored P-40C took flight, flown by Steve Hinton. Pix taken from the open tail of “Photo Fanny” out at Planes of Fame. This is the airplane pulled out of the forest south of Archangel where it crashed in 1943 that Fighter Rebuilders did for The Fighter Collection; it was later sold to Paul Allen and is now in his collection up in Seattle. The markings are for the airplane our old friend the late Erik Shilling flew on the first American offensive mission of the war, the December 10, 1941, photo recon mission to Bangkok (for which in 1986 he was awarded the Silver Star, thus proving as he said, that the AVG were really not “mercenaries” but a US operation “short of war”).
This airplane is historically interesting for other reasons. When it came to Chino and the Russian paint was removed, lo and behold, beneath it was OD/NG and the markings of the 77th Pursuit Squadron of the 20th Pursuit Group. The 20th were the first USAAC pursuit group to move up to the P-40D in June 1941. In July 1941 FDR ordered the military to facilitate the transfer of “excess US property” to the USSR since at the time he couldn’t do it under Lend-Lease. People have long wondered where the 48 P-40Cs of the 20th disappeared to since no other group ever got them. This probably answers that question. And no, I didn’t have a camera with me the day the paint came off and that fact was revealed – and I was the only one who knew what I was looking at.
3 additional images. Click to enlarge.