The last P-36C built flies again!
This is the last Curtiss P-36C constructed, serial number 38-210. Built in 1939 and delivered to Selfridge Field, Michigan in May 1939. She participated in the 1939 Cleveland Air Races in September 1939 with experimental camouflage, then participated in the War Games at Maxwell Field following the Air Races.
The P-36C was sent to Wright Patterson for testing in 1940 and then on to serve with several different squadrons on the U.S. East Coast.
In 1942 the airplane was sent to Chanute Technical Training Command for a few months, thereafter it was labeled obsolete and flown to Buckley field in Colorado, where it was used in a Tech School following decommissioning, and was later acquired by a Pratt & Whitney Tech instructor from Canada. The P-36C was stored in Canada until a Florida collector acquired it and passed it on to The Fighter Collection more than a decade ago.
The restoration began four years ago, under the leadership of Matt Nightingale, who had restored the Hawk 75A-1 that flew in 2004 at Chino, after sufficient original parts capable of overhaul were recovered to ensure the aircraft could be completed to fly. Steve Hinton carried out the shakedown flights and the FAA certified the P-36C for flight in April 2015. It made it first public appearances at the 2015 Planes of Fame Airshow, where I took these photos last Saturday. The P-36C was the only “new” airplane at this year’s show, which did not feature as many aircraft as the shows the past three years.
The guy on the motor scooter in the last shot is Matt Nightingale, the restorer.
27 additional images. Click to enlarge.