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Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Featured in “The Flying Tigers”

A Curtiss P-40, which was one of the most popular and successful American aircraft of WWII, joined the aircraft collection at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in July of 2010 and has become the centerpiece of a new "The Flying Tigers" exhibit which officially opens Thursday, October 27, 5:00 to 7:30PM, with a dedication and gala reception, by invitation to press and dignitaries.

Flying Tigers

The event will also feature a special tribute to Senator Ted Stevens, who was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force and flew the Curtiss C-46 and Douglas C-47 cargo transports "over the Hump" into China, 1944 and 1945.

The P-40 is on loan to the Museum from donor corporation FedEx. At a $1.5 million value, the aircraft is preserved in flying condition and receives regular maintenance visits by FedEx at the Museum. The Museum worked with the Flying Tiger Museum in China to create the exhibit, coordinating efforts among the state of Hawaii, the Museum, and the People's Republic of China.

Built in 1942 for the Royal Canadian Air Force and used primarily for training during WWII, the aircraft changed ownership several times before being shipped to Hawaii in 1969 to be used in the filming of Tora! Tora! Tora!

In 1980, the airplane was purchased by the Flying Tiger Line and restored as a memorial to the airline's founder Robert Prescott, an ace and pilot in the Flying Tigers in China. Officially known as the American Volunteer Group, the AVG consisted of pilots recruited from U.S. Forces and contracted via China National Aviation Corporation to fly for Chaing Kai Chek to defend China from the Japanese invasion. The Tigers are credited with 299 confirmed enemy aircraft destroyed during their seven-month period of active service beginning in 1941 – a record unequaled in the history of air combat. The FedEx aircraft on loan to the Museum is a P-40E model painted as Ship No. 67, 3rd Pursuit Squadron, American Volunteer Group, Chinese Air Force. When Flying Tiger Line rolled out the restored airplane in 1981, it was presented to the AVG and Burma Hump Pilots Association; surviving members of the Flying Tigers signed on the horizontal stabilizer (pilots on the left, support personnel on the right), attesting to the authenticity of the paint job. The airplane was acquired by Federal Express when the Flying Tiger Line was merged into FedEx.

Flying Tigers

According to Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff, "More than 14,000 P-40 aircraft were built during WWII. Although often slower and less maneuverable than its counterparts, the P-40 could withstand amazing amounts of battle damage and could out-dive most of its adversaries. It's the aircraft in our logo and now, the star of an exceptional new exhibit. We're thankful to the generosity of donor corporation FedEx and their Chairman/CEO Fred Smith."

The P-40 carried a crew of one and was powered by an Allison 12 cyclinder V-1710 engine. Made by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the P-40 had a top speed of 362 mph. The "67" on the fuselage was selected by Flying Tiger Line because the AVG never assigned that ship number to a specific pilot, and Bob Prescott never had an airplane assigned exclusively to him. The AVG logo, a tiger flying out of a V for victory, was reproduced as the original art by Walt Disney Studios. The red stripe around the tail and the "Hell's Angels" forward of the cockpit designate the 3rd Pursuit Squadron; the roundels on the wings identify the Chinese Air Force.

For more information on the event, please call 808-441-1004 or email SpecialEvents@PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Rated the "One of the top 10 aviation attractions in the nation" by TripAdvisor®, it is open 9am to 5pm daily and is accessed by shuttles starting at USS Arizona Memorial/Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Tickets and a free combat simulator flight coupon are available online at www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Come Fly with Me” ~ New PAN AM Exhibit

PAN AM Exhibit

(Photos of the exhibit available here on our Flickr stream:

PAN AM Flickr Album

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor's tribute to the greatness that was Pan American World Airways opened to the public with a special reception 2 to 4PM, Saturday, October 22, 2011, marking the 75th anniversary of commercial airline passenger service to Hawaii. Approximately 500 attended the blessing and festivities.

The reception hosted press, dignitaries, and members of the PAN AM and Museum families. Included in the dedication were: Ed Swofford, former regional vice president for Pan American and former CEO of Aloha Airlines, and founding board member of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor; Darleen Laster of the Pan Am Association; Capt. Don Cooper, a former Pan Am pilot; Museum Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff; and Kahu Kordell Kekoa of Kamehameha Schools.

PAN AM Exhibit

Reflecting PAN AM's importance to aviation in the Pacific, the exhibit, designed by Southern Custom Exhibits of Anniston, Alabama, and fabricated by Museum staff, features artifacts and memorabilia in two modules: the 1930s and 1940s ("The Early Years"), and 1960s, ("The Jet Age"). It was designed to be an evolving exhibit that changes and grows as more artifacts are contributed by friends of PAN AM.

"We have collected original PAN AM branded items to be viewed in what appears to be the inside cabin of an airliner. It's a fun concept and an exciting addition to our history of aviation in the Pacific. We're grateful to all those who helped make it possible," said Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.

Included in the exhibit are uniforms, customer service items, original posters and signage, navigation tools, the maintenance manual for the Boeing 314 China Clipper, maps for routes serviced in the Islands, and biographical information on the founders and pioneers of international air service--Juan Trippe, Charles Lindbergh, and Edward Musick.

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