The P-40 was the best known Curtiss-Wright designed airplane of the Second World War. It was also one of the most controversial fighters, vilified by many as being too slow, lacking in maneuverability, having too low a climbing rate, and being largely obsolescent by contemporary standards even before it went into production. The inadequacies of the P-40 were even the subject of a Congressional investigation after the War ended.
While these criticisms were certainly valid, it is also true that the P-40 served its country well, especially in China and Burma, during the opening phase of the War in the Pacific when little else was available to the US Army Air Corps. Along with the P-39 Airacobra, the P-40 was the only American fighter available in quantity to confront the Japanese advance until more modern aircraft could be delivered to frontline squadrons.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a USAAF Curtiss P-40N Warhawk fighter that was piloted by Lt. Fred F. Burgett who was attached to the 25th Fighter Squadron, 51st Fighter Group, then deployed to Yunnanyi, China, during 1944. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 9-1/4 inches
Length: 7-3/4 inches
Release Date: February 2009
Historical Account: "Sing Pao" - Burgett was one of several pilots who trained on P-47s with the 89th Fighter Squadron, 80th Fighter Group in the USA only to be transferred to the P-40-equipped 25th Fighter Squadron upon their arrival in India. On October 24th, 1943, whilst escorting B-24s sent to bomb Hanoi, Burgett experienced engine trouble in his P-40 and carried out a forced landing near Chimming. Assigned a new P-40N (White 212) he named it "Sing Pao" after the baby daughter of the doctor who had invited several pilots to his home for dinner. Painted olive drab, with a factory applied dapple of darker green over neutral grey, the aircraft carried the B Flight 'bee' badge on a white disc on both sides of its rudder. Burgett's tour ended when he bailed out of another P-40 and fractured both his legs in the process --he spent the next 13 months in hospitals and rehab centers. To this day, Fred Burgett likes to say he destroyed two aircraft, 'but unfortunately both of them were his own.'