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Friday, July 9, 2010

Vintage Wings of Canada Curtiss-Wright P-40 N-1/Kittyhawk IV

Despite relatively overcast skies on Saturday June 26, Vintage Wings of Canada's Curtiss P-40 N-1 or "Kittyhawk IV" in the RCAF, flew in to attend the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association's Veterans' and Kids' Day airshow at Tillsonburg, Ontario's beautiful Municipal Airport.

Painted in the Desert Air Force colors of Wing Commander James "Stocky" Edwards, who is Canada's highest-scoring WW II "Ace" still alive today, the P-40 is the second-from-last such aircraft built at Curtiss-Wright's Buffalo, N.Y. pland in mid-1943. During its early days, the P-40 was One of 400 P-40N-1s loaned to the Royal Australian Air Force, assigned RAAF serial number A29-414 and squadron letters HU-Z. It also received pin-up girl nose art with the slogan “Come in Suckers”. 

In 1944, it was flown by W/O Jim Harvey of the RAAF and sent 78 Squadron RAAF to defend the airfield at Tadji, Papa, New Guinea, which had shortly before been captured from the Japanese occupiers. On April  25 1944, HU-Z was damaged on landing, on account of the Japanese having bombed the airfield. Ths aircraft was damaged so badly, that it was bulldozed off the runway and into the surrounding jungle, remaining there until it was rediscovered in the 1970s and then recovered in 2001 by Australian warbird owner and restorer, Robert Greinert. The aircraft was moved to Australia and then sold to Pioneer Aero
Restorations Ltd. near Auckland,New Zealand and in 2001, its restoration commenced, using most of the original pieces from the wreck in New Guinea. Then, in 2006, the aircraft was sold to Vintage Wings of Canada and the restoration was complete.

Converted to two-seat configuration and resplendent in the colors of Canada's W/C Edwards, it is in magnificent flying condition today. Please see the recent video of it taxiing in to Tillsonburg below.


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