No. 334. Curtiss 87A-2 Kittyhawk Mk.I (N1207V c/n 18796)
Photographed at Livermore, California, USA, December 23, 1971, by Ron Dupas

Curtiss 87A-2 Kittyhawk Mk.I

03/31/2010. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Early in 1940, the availability of the Allison V-1710-39 (F3R) with an external spur reduction gear and a rating of 1,150 hp for take-off which was maintained at 11,700 ft (3,566 m) prompted Curtiss to undertake a redesign of the basic Hawk 81A to take the improved powerplant as the Hawk 87A.

The external spur airscrew reduction gear of the -39 engine shortened the unit and raised the thrust line, enabling the overall length to be reduced by 6 in (15.24 cm), the cross-section of the fuselage reduced and the undercarriage shortened. The radiator was enlarged and moved forward, some 175 lb (79 kg) of armor were incorporated, fuselage guns were omitted in favor of four 0.5 in (12.7 mm) wing guns with new hydraulic chargers, and provision was made for a 500 lb (227 kg) bomb or drop tank.

The British Purchasing Commission placed a contract for 560 aircraft, designated 87A-l Kittyhawk Mk.I, in May 1940. The first example flew on May 22, 1941, by which time the fighter had also been ordered for the USAAC as the P-40D, the first production contract having been placed in September 1940. After delivery of the first 20 Kittyhawk Mk.I aircraft, armament was increased from four to six wing-mounted 0.5 in (12.7 mm) machine guns, the designation changed to 87A-2 Kittyhawk Mk.I.

A similar change was introduced on the parallel P-40D after only 22 were produced, an order dated February 18, 1941, increased the armament from four to six wing-mounted guns, subsequent aircraft with this armament being designated P-40E. Orders were placed for 2,320 E-model fighters comprising 820 87A-3 P-40E and 1,500 87A-4 P-40E-l aircraft, the latter being purchased from Lend-Lease funds for the RAF and other Commonwealth air arms as Kittyhawks.

The pictured aircraft was produced under the UK s/n AL152 in late 1941, and was one of 72 aircraft that were diverted to the RCAF. It served under the RCAF s/n 1082 from December 3, 1941 till August 23, 1946. The following year it was sold to the USA and was registered as N1207V to Fred Dyson of Seattle, Washington on September 13, 1947.

Thereafter it had twelve different owners, including Tallmantz, and some different paint schemes, before it was obtained by the War Eagles Air Museum at Santa Teresa, New Mexico (where it is kept in airworthy condition), in the meantime being reregistered as N95JB."

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