The scientific tourist #138 — Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk

This week you get two images of a Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk, taken at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk, below

The Curtiss P-40 was a single-engine, single-seat fighter and attack aircraft that saw service across the globe during all of the second World War. Known in all its variants in U.S. service as the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, everywhere else early variants (P-40B & C) were called the Tomahawk while later ones (P-40D and on) were called the Kittyhawk.

Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk, above

While not breaking many records for speed or turn performance, the P-40 made a name for itself by being a low-cost aircraft with almost ridiculously high durability. Many returned to their bases with damage that would have ended the days of other aircraft.

This particular aircraft was delivered to Canada in 1941, and served until 1946 in No. 111 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1975, U.S.A.F. personnel at Andrews Air Force Base restored it to represent an aircraft of the 14th Air Force — it’s painted as “Lope’s Hope” in honor of Donald S. Lopez, USAAC / USAF pilot, WWII ace, and former Deputy Museum Director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

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