P-40 Kittyhawk

One of the most exciting performances at this year’s Abbotsford International Airshow is the P-40 Kittyhawk. This legendary aircraft’s rich history and impressive performance will leave you in awe. Here is everything you need to know about this iconic aircraft.

An Incredible History 

The P-40 Kittyhawk is a single-engine fighter plane primarily used during World War II: the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, an American aircraft company, designed and manufactured it. The aircraft was first introduced in 1938 and remained in production until 1944, with over 13,000 units produced. Numerous Allied nations, including the United States, Great Britain, and Canada, flew the P-40.

During World War II, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) operated 13 units that flew the P-40 aircraft in the North West European and Alaskan theaters. In 1940, comparative tests between the P-40 and the Spitfire showed the latter performing better, but since the Spitfire was not available in Canada, the RCAF ordered the P-40 for domestic air defense. Eight Home War Establishment Squadrons were equipped with the Kittyhawk variant of the P-40, totaling 134 aircraft, which were obtained by diverting them from RAF Lend-Lease orders originally intended for Canada. Prior to the arrival of the P-40s, three RCAF Article XV squadrons operated Tomahawk aircraft in the United Kingdom. One fighter squadron briefly used the Tomahawk before switching to Spitfires, while two Army Co-operation squadrons trained with Tomahawks before transitioning to Mustangs. Only one squadron operated Tomahawks in combat over France.

In 1942, the RCAF deployed P-40 Kittyhawks to the Aleutian Islands off Alaska, where the Imperial Japanese Navy had occupied Attu and Kiska. RCAF squadrons provided support to the USAAF, with one squadron stationed on Adak Island and 12 aircraft rotating from a base on Amchitka Island. They engaged in combat, and one RCAF pilot successfully shot down a Japanese seaplane. In 1943, a new RCAF squadron was formed in England and initially trained on Tomahawks before transitioning to Mustangs. In 1945, RCAF pilots flying P-40N aircraft intercepted and destroyed Japanese balloon-bombs intended to cause wildfires on the North American mainland. They successfully shot down two of these balloons, providing vital defense.

Overall, the RCAF employed P-40s and Tomahawks in various theaters, supporting home defense, conducting combat operations, and engaging in intercept missions throughout the course of World War II.

In addition to its combat history, the P-40 Kittyhawk has been featured in various movies, television shows, and airshows. The aircraft’s impressive performance and distinctive design have made it a popular choice for airshow performers. 

P-40 Kittyhawk Specifications

The aircraft has a wingspan of 37 feet and a length of 33 feet. It stands at a height of 12 feet and has a maximum takeoff weight of 8,810 pounds. A single Allison V-1710-81 powers the P-40 liquid-cooled V12 engine, producing 1,150 horsepower. This engine allows the aircraft to reach a top speed of 362 miles per hour and a range of 650 miles.

The P-40 Kittyhawk’s performance is equally impressive. The aircraft has a maximum altitude of 29,000 feet and a climb rate of 2,100 feet per minute. The P-40 has six .50 calibre machine guns mounted in the wings and can carry up to 2,000 pounds of bombs or rockets. These features made the P-40 Kittyhawk a practical aircraft during World War II, especially in the Pacific Theatre, where it was used extensively by the United States.

The P-40 Kittyhawk is a legendary aircraft with an impressive history and performance that will leave you in awe. Its specifications, performance, and history make it a highlight of the Abbotsford International Airshow. We can’t wait for you to see this iconic aircraft in action! Make sure to mark your calendar for the airshow in August, and don’t miss the chance to witness the P-40 Kittyhawk in all its glory.