Robert Grienert has recently completed the restoration of a Curtiss P40E Kittyhawk, tail number 41-25163, for the Pima Air and Space Museum of Tucson, Arizona USA.
The aircraft is a composite restoration utilizing components from several sources. The aircraft fuselage was built at Wangaratta by Precision Aerospace and then completed along with its Alaskan wings and all other components over the past couple of years.
In July 2017, the aircraft was trial assembled for the last time at Albion Park to ensure it was accurate and then packed and ready for its journey to its new home in the USA at Pima. The Kittyhawk P40E arrived at the Pima Museum on the 20th of September and Robert and his team were in attendance to assist the Pima crew assemble the aircraft over the next few weeks which is now largely complete.
The identity chosen for this aircraft was a 49th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Sqn aircraft flown by Lt. Sidney Woods. Woods was later to command the Squadron from 22nd of May 1943 promoted to Captain. The aircraft was produced against a 1941 order at the Curtiss plant in Buffalo, New York. Originally allocated to the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) but not delivered and then to go to the RAAF as A29-94 but this also never occurred (replaced in RAAF by 41-25176). The aircraft was re issued to 49th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Sqn USAAC and operated in Defence of Darwin from 17th March 1942 and was eventually written off in a crash landing near Port Moresby, New Guinea on 1.12.42. The aircraft was based at Rogers Airfield, also known as 30-Mile Drome at the time.
The P40 arrived in the USA in an unpainted state and the colors are being completed as well as the distinctive nose art P-40E-1 41-25163 ‘Arizona’ / ‘Kip’ #74 with rattlesnake artwork on the right side of the ship’s cowling. The beautiful artwork on the P40 is being finished by Aviation Artist Sharon Marchand. Once completed it is believed the aircraft will go on display in the Pima Air and Space Hangar 5.
This P40 restoration is the culmination of a lot of work on behalf or Robert and his team at Albion Park where a lot of other exciting restorations are taking place. Warbirds Online thanks Robert for granting us access to the restoration over the past 4 years and allowing us to share images that we have taken over that time. Robert Grienert can be contacted at any time to discuss Warbird restoration opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© John Parker 2017