Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wings Over Wairarapa # 11: Curtis P-40E Kittyhawk, North American P51-D Mustang & Goodyear FG-1D Corsair

While each of these aircraft deserve their own post, they are all so closely related due to service in various theatres of World War 2 and their combined displays at the airshow. In addition, each of these types were operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force [RNZAF] at various times.

The Goodyear FG-1D Corsair is a stunner and is instantly recognisable due to it's 'bent' or 'gull' wing [designed to reduce the undercarriage leg length while retaining prop clearance]. At any airshow, this will be one of my favourites, even beyond the Mustang or the Hurricane [not shown at this airshow]. Perhaps I might change my mind when I finally get to see a Spitfire being displayed, but I suspect it will be a rather close call. To me, the aircraft looks like it was designed by a big angry man wanting to do some damage to someone... I guess it looks right then!

Another very recognisable aircraft is the North American P51-D Mustang. An aircraft that performs as well as its reputation [and that's a hard ask!] and an airshow favourite for generations, the Mustang never fails to impress. At the risk of upsetting some, while the aircraft was always good, it perhaps only became great when they installed an English Rolls Royce Merlin V12 [the same power plant as the mighty Spitfire].

Perhaps with less instant recognition than some, I am always impressed with the Curtis P-40E Kittyhawk. While out-classed by the others, it still exudes confidence as a reliable and capable performer. When Kittyhawks were replaced by Corsairs as New Zealand's front-line fighter, many of them were returned to New Zealand as advanced trainers.

Both the Corsair and Kittyhawk are operated by the Old Stick and Rudder Company, and I think that the Mustang is operated by New Zealand Warbirds. Check out their websites for more details.

Anyway, here are a few photos of these aircraft with the Corsair followed by the Mustang then the Kittyhawk... plus a picture with a "stray" Harvard [taken during a mock airfield attack] :-)

Goodyear FG-1D CorsairGoodyear FG-1D CorsairGoodyear FG-1D CorsairGoodyear FG-1D CorsairNorth American P51-D MustangNorth American P51-D MustangCurtis P-40E KittyhawkCurtis P-40E KittyhawkCurtis P-40E KittyhawkCurtis P-40E Kittyhawk / North American P51-E Mustang / North American Harvard 3*

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