The scientific tourist #84 — O’Riley’s Daughter

A Curtis P-40N Warhawk at Seattle’s Museum of Flight:

The Curtis P-40 wasn’t the best fighter of World War II, but it had its strengths — namely that it was cheap and built like a tank. Since it only had a single-speed / single-stage supercharger, it was hopelessly outclassed by a number of Axis fighters at altitudes over 30,000 feet. But in theaters where high-altitude performance was less important (notably, in Africa and China), it performed well. It had armor around the engine and cockpit, enabling it to tackle faster fighters head-on. Meanwhile, its wings were so strong that a number of Warhawks survived mid-air collisions as well as holding up to occasional ramming attacks on enemy fighters.

The P-40N was the last variant of this model to be produced, this particular aircraft flew straight from the factory in Buffalo, NY to storage in Arizona. During its restoration decades later, it was painted in markings typical of the Chinese-American Composite Wing circa 1944. The plane was named after a popular drinking song of the time…

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