Curtiss P-40E 41-25109 (RAF serial ET433) was the second of two P40 aircraft acquired by the late Col Pay. The first being P40E Hawk 87A-3 c/n 15133 AK752 / VH-KTH. Upon the sale of VH-KTH in 1994, P-40E 41-25109 was acquired from Mike Subritzky, Auckland-Dairy Flat, New Zealand (NZ) who had owned the aircraft since 1991. Prior to that the Kittyhawk had been owned by John Chambers, Auckland, NZ from 1971 when he recovered the aircraft from Asplin’s Supplies, Hamilton scrapyard, NZ, where it had lain from 1954 until 1971.
Upon the arrival of the P40 at Scone in 1994, a comprehensive rebuild of the aircraft was commenced with the entire airframe being rebuilt from the ground up. The fuselage was rebuilt in a jig by Pays at Scone NSW, whilst the wings were outsourced to Caboolture Qld for rebuild and the empennage assembly went back to New Zealand for rebuild. The P40 had spent many years exposed to the elements and was in need of a very detailed refurbishment which required a long time to complete, including the rebuild of an Allison V-1710-39 liquid-cooled V12 engine. All of the components of the P40 eventually came together at Scone and the P40 began to take shape as a complete aircraft again. The first engine runs on the P40 were undertaken on 13 November 2004 and then on the 6th of December 2004 the aircraft took to the air again in the hands of Col Pay.
The P40 was finished in the color Scheme of a 3Sqn RAAF P40E serial ET953 Sqn code CV-V, the aircraft of Robert Henry Maxwell (Bobby) Gibbes, DSO, DFC and Bar, OAM (6 May 1916 – 11 April 2007), as commanding officer of No. 3 Squadron, North Africa. Fortunately “Bobby” Gibbes was able to see the aircraft and signed the engine cowling in 2007 shortly before he passed away. As with Col’s first P40 he displayed this aircraft quite extensively at RAAF Squadron reunions and airshows including some very memorable displays at RAAF Williamtown and flying days at Temora Aviation Museum. The P40 was always flown with great energy and is very popular with everyone who has seen her fly.
The P40 remains with the Pays fleet of Warbirds to this day and is a centerpiece in the Warbird collection at Scone maintained by Vintage Fighter Restorations, a division of Pays.
History of P40E 41-25109 (RAF serial ET433)
P-40E 41-25109 was constructed in Buffalo New York USA in 1942 and originally allocated to the RAF as a Mk. Ia Kittyhawk, ET433. This identity was not taken up and the aircraft was diverted to Australia later in 1942 and allocated to the USAAC (United States Army Air Corps) 68th Pursuit Squadron, Tonga. Then on the 27th of October 1942 the P40 was transferred to the RNZAF as NZ3094. It is believed that the aircraft served in RNZAF 15Sqn at Fuamotu, Tonga FROM 27 October 1942.
Post war the P40 was sold on 02 March 1948 to J. Larsen from Rukuhia New Zealand as scrap along with 50 other P40s and remained there in Asplin’s Supplies scrapyard from 1954 until when it was recovered by John Chambers and then Mike Subritzky. In 1994 the aircraft was purchased by Col Pay.
© John Parker 2017