The aircraft in this exhibit is a replica of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, a very popular aircraft with production from 1938-1944. Nearly 14,000 were built for service in 28 countries. It was the foremost Army Air Force pursuit-fighter at the start of WWII and a workhorse throughout the war. The P-40 was easy to maintain, rugged, tolerant of unimproved airfields, and agile at high air speeds.
Our Warhawk’s paint scheme is identical to Lt. Ken Taylor’s P-40B model. The mannequin-pilot seated in the cockpit is wearing a formal tuxedo shirt, representing Ken Taylor’s attire on the morning of December 7, 1941.
Compared to the Zero, the Warhawk is not as maneuverable, heavier (dives faster), better armed, and armored (pilot and engine protection). It was flown by American Volunteer Group (AVG), also known as the “Flying Tigers” in China as well as the in 1942 and 1943 by the 99th Fighter Squadron of the Tuskegee Airmen in North Africa. Lieutenants Taylor and Welch’s acts of heroism are depicted in the 2001 Touchstone film Pearl Harbor starring Ben Affleck and Josh Harnett.