Designated the XP-40, the prototype took its first flight in October, 1938 and was serial number 39-156.
A wartime picture of a P-40 that is much like the subject of this post.
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk SpecificationsWingspan: 37 ft. 4 in.
Length: 31 ft. 8 in.
Height: 12 ft. 4 in.
Empty Weight: 6,000 lbs
Gross Weight: 8,850 lbs
Top Speed: 346 mph
Service Ceiling: 25,000 ft.
Range: 950 miles
Engine: One Allison 1040 hp V-1710-33 (C15)
The weapons installed were two 0.50-inch machine guns, mounted in the upper nose and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc and one 0.30-inch machine gun in each wing.
On October 24, 1940, 19 Curtis P-40 Warhawks of the 57th Pursuit Group left March Field at Riverside, California, to fly to McClelland Field, in Sacramento, California. A short time after takeoff, the aircraft encountered heavy overcast conditions, and many of them became separated. Four planes went down in the area of Kings Canyon, resulting in one pilot being killed, and three pilots parachuting to safety.
The P-40 Warhawk (Ser. # 39-213) flown by 2nd Lt. John Harold Pease suffered engine problems, suddenly filling the cockpit with smoke. Pease forced the cockpit open to vent the smoke and saw that his propeller had stopped turning, forcing the pilot bail out over the rocky and cold High Sierras.
Remarkably Pease landed unscathed, gathered up his parachute and hiked to a deserted hunter's cabin using his parachute to keep warm.
This airplane crash site location has remained unknown for almost 75 years until a cross country hiker spotted the wreckage. A SoCal aviation wreck expert, Pat Macha put together a group of seven hardy souls to hike out and validate the wreckage on-site and identify key components of the plane.
Starting at 8 AM it would turn out to be a long day of cross country navigation for the hikers to reach and inspect the hidden site.My friend Alan and I sported well prepared packs.
In my pack I toted:
5 liters of water due to high temps and unknown water source availability
decent first aid kit with emphasis on foot care, also water purification tablets
Wouxun UV8D radio
ESEE-6 blade, Delica folder and a Gerber Multitool
light fleece, long sleeved shirt, windbreaker, gloves and shemagh
maps, compass, SPOT beacon and GPS
foil survival blanket
food to last the day with a little extra
large trash bag
Sharing the woods with bears.
This tag from the aircraft's body positively identifies this wreck as a Curtiss 87 series, manufactured on June, 1940
The left and right landing struts with the gear assembly that rotated the tires to fit flush with the wings.
This color photo shows a great view of the supercharger's impeller in a functioning engine
The gear drive on the back of the impeller plate.
This factory image shows the impeller's gear train that derived power from the big V-12 engine's crankshaft.
This factory image shows the whole air induction assembly with inlet screen, carburetor, supercharger housing and air intake manifold.
Please respect aircraft wrecks sites so that other adventurers may see them intact. Many sites are protected by a host of federal and local laws.