The Curtiss P-36 Hawk, also known as the Curtiss Hawk Model 75 was an American-designed and built fighter aircraft of the 1930s and 40s. I had the opportunity to photograph the H75 Hawk and see her fly at Duxford in 2005 while at an airshow. The aircraft had just been restored to flying condition by The Fighter Collection based at Duxford, with most of the restoration being done in the USA.
The following information about this aircraft is courtesy of the The Fighter Collection (TFC) website. “The aircraft was one of 100 delivered to France (Number 82) and saw extensive service with the French Air Force from delivery in 1939 including Groupe de Combat 11/5 Lafayette at Reims Then “82” moved to Toul during the Battle of France, and then on to Oran in Algeria before the Armistice. From 1940 to 1942 Hawk No.82′s Squadron was engaged in sporadic skirmishes with RAF and USN aircraft over Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Between 1946 and 1949 Hawk No.82 was with the 4th Training Squadron at Cazaux in Western France serving as an advanced trainer with 22 other H-75s.”
So, “ 82” has a very long and distinguished service life. It is unknown how much of the actual original airframe survives in the restoration but it is a magnificent achievement in any case to have an example of the type flying. There are only 3 other surviving examples of the Hawk 75 series “Mohawk” one static in the USA at Dayton Ohio, One in Thailand with another airworthy rebuild of one by Mike Nichols in New Zealand although little is known of this restoration.
The Lafayette Escadrille definitive insignia, the Lakota (Sioux) Indian head is displayed on her starboard side. In the past American pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille were allowed to decorate their own aircraft with personal motifs which were used for identification.
The “Mohawk” as it was known in the RAF was a great looking aircraft and was significant as the starting point for the P40. And as an airshow performer it really is the “Business”.
© John Parker 2014