Vintage Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk fighter found in Egypt The well preserved remains of a World War II RAF Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk war plane was found by Polish oil company worker Jakub Perka while exploring a remote region of the western Sahara desert in Egypt.
P-40 Kittyhawk Wreckage
Finding such a rare plane 70 years after it went missing in June 1942 has been compared by some historians as the aviation equivalent of discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh commonly known as King Tut.
The aircraft, which had not been hidden by wind blown desert sands, was located in a remote region about 200 miles from the nearest town.
It was believed to have been flown by 24-year-old RAF Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping, the son of a dentist from Southend, Essex. Although his body has never been recovered, there is evidence that the airman survived the crash landing, and may have used parts from the aircraft as shelter.
According to British military historian Andy Saunders, the remains are in remarkably good condition, but there are concerns about preserving it. Mr. Saunders has been quoted in The Daily Telegraph as saying, "The plane is in a very good condition but sadly it is being stripped by some locals who don't regard it as part of their heritage but as a piece of junk that may have some scrap value."
Saunders advises that time is critical in not losing this "incredible time capsule of aviation history," adding "The Ministry of Defense needs to act and get the plane out of there as soon as possible rather than embarking upon a great deal of hand-wringing and meetings to discuss its future."
While many of these fighting machines were built during World War II, only 28 P-40 aircraft remain airworthy. Three of them are being converted to dual-controls/dual-seat configuration. Approximately 13 aircraft are on static display, and another 36 airframes are under restoration for either display or flight.
The Curtiss P-40 was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft flown by the air forces of 28 nations. When production of the P-40 ceased in November 1944, 13,738 aircraft had been built.
The P-40 and its variants, the Warhawk, Tomahawk, and Kittyhawk, were considered one of the most advanced war planes of its time. The aircraft was designed by Donovan Berlin and built by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in Buffalo, New York. It was flown by the U.S. Army Air Force, the RAF, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and many others.
P-40 Warhawk at Planes of Fame Airshow.
The plane was powered by a liquid-cooled, supercharged Allison V-1710 V-12 engine which allowed it to attain a maximum speed of 360 miles an hour, a cruising speed of 270 mph, a range of 650 miles, a service ceiling of 29,000 feet, and a rate of climb of 2,100 feet per minute.
The fighting machine also carried six 50-inch M2 Browning machine guns with 150 to 200 rounds per gun, and up to three bombs weighing a total of 2,000 pounds.
Source: Joel Siegfried
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