As I shifted into 5th gear I couldn't remember a word she said!
As I shifted into 5th gear I couldn't remember a word she said!
That is extraordinary is there any thoughts on recovery.
An incredible find.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.
Lest We Forget
Truly incredible to find an aircraft 70 years after its crash in such a great condition. 2012 seems to be a great year for the discovery of such gems.
There's another thread on this posted a week ago, but doesn't appear to be any more news yet.
and interesting story and a little ( ok a LOT of speculation )...
The Fog of War Obscures a Great Aerial Dogfight (Speculation)
JAMES C. MCLANE III
The radio program reminded me of a story I’d heard from my father, longtime AIAA member and former AIAA Section Chair James C. McLane Jr.
During WW2 my dad (now 89 years old) was a fighter pilot. He trained in the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and spent
much of 1944 serving as an instructor for those single seat aircraft. He transitioned to the much more advanced P-51 Mustang after joining the 357th Fighter Group in England.
In July 1945 his Group moved into a former German air base at Neubiberg near Munich. There was speculation about whether they might eventually have to tangle with the Russians in disputes over the post-war division of Europe. To help prepare for this possibility, the US Army sent a couple of recently surrendered German aviators to discuss combat tactics with the pilots of the 357th. The two German aces were almost legendary, each having each shot down more than 200 enemy aircraft.
An American pilot asked one of the visitors to describe his toughest aerial combat. The German, with luck and great skill had survived countless dogfights, perhaps more than any living aviator. The listening audience included pilots who had wanted to shoot this man and his Luftwaffe brothers down, so they were very interested in his response. Maybe he would describe an encounter with one of the notable American aces in that very room, a group that included Kit Carson, one of the US’s top scoring fighter pilots. The German’s answer would surprise his audience.
The Luftwaffe ace said his most memorable combat occurred early in the war. He was flying a Messerschmitt Bf-109 on a patrol over North Africa. Flying high up in the empty blue sky over the desert, the war seemed a remote abstraction. The air was crystal clear and visibility was excellent. It was cool up here, unlike the stifling hot conditions that prevailed on the ground. This was a fine day to be in the Luftwaffe instead of Rommel’s Afrika Korps, choking on dust, crawling around somewhere down below on the blistering Sahara desert.
Habitually scanning the sky, he saw a tiny speck in the far distance and instantly veered over in that direction for a better look. The speck was a lone Curtiss P-40 Warhawk painted brown in British camouflage colors. The war had once again become a personal matter. The German knew he was there to make just such a discovery. Nevertheless, for an instant before deciding on a course of action he resented how much the impending encounter would interfere with his enjoyment of the beautiful day. Barring a mechanical failure on his trusty Messerschmitt, the outcome of this chance meeting with the enemy was inevitable. He was an expert, flying the world’s fastest front-line fighter plane. He would score another easy victory by downing the plodding, semi-obsolete P-40. Experience had taught him that any pilot in a P-40 with the bad luck to meet his fully armed Bf-109 would soon be another casualty of war. Such an encounter held little of the danger and excitement of strafing targets on the ground, or the personal satisfaction of escorting the slow, vulnerable troop transports that carried dozens of fellow German soldiers. He wasn’t nervous as he methodically cinched his shoulder harness tighter, advanced the throttle, glanced one last time at the instrument panel and banked the lethal little Messerschmitt into a curving path designed to intercept the track of the P-40 and put him in a firing position behind his opponent. But the Warhawk pilot was alert and he would not be taken unaware.
A P-40 could accelerate very rapidly in a dive, so to escape the situation the British pilot headed toward the ground as steeply as possible. But, the air was clear and there were no clouds below to dive into and hide. Perhaps down near the desert the mottled tan camouflage on the Warhawk would make him hard to see. At least that was one remote possibility.
The fast Bf-109 headed down too, following in the distance behind the P-40. The resulting pursuit continued as both aircraft spiraled closer and closer to earth. The German was tenacious, but couldn’t close the distance separating him and his now fast flying enemy. Pulling high G’s both planes flattened out near the ground without shedding necessary parts, like wings or tails, or rendering their pilots unconscious. The cockpits began to take in the hot air that one associates with the desert. In a short while flying outfits, designed for the cold of 20,000 feet became uncomfortable and the pilots began to sweat. Behind tight fitting goggles, sweat could sting the eye and obscure vision. Now the German sought a rapid end to this contest. It had already proven more inconvenient than he expected. This had become a classic match of two planes and their pilots, knights of the sky engaged in a close-in fight that almost certainly would end in a death.
After pulling out of its steep dive, by chance the P-40 found itself flying at rooftop level above a North African city. The Messerschmitt was not far behind. The subsequent dog fight happened inside the town. The planes chased each other down streets and between buildings and houses, their wing tips and propellers barely clearing obstacles. Panic-stricken people, animals and livestock scattered. The planes were so low that their propeller tips may have touched the dirt as they roared down the roads. Clouds of dust hung in the air in their wake.
The very low altitude meant there could be no chance to bail out with a parachute if your plane was fatally shot. The extreme high-G maneuvers, the banking and the constant, hard over, knife edge turns did not offer any chance for the Bf-109 to use its ability to go fast. Close proximity to the ground made it impossible to dive. A climb would slow you down and make you an easy target, so the normal three dimensional environment of flight was reduced to moving in only two dimensions, a condition that greatly handicapped the faster Messerschmitt.
It must have been frightening for the two pilots. Horrifying would be a better term. This was the stuff of a nightmare. The experience was so scary that three years later the German could still remember every detail. Following close behind the P-40 pebbles and dirt struck his windshield as he occasionally lost sight of his enemy in the dust. On the ragged edge of a high speed stall the tight turning P-40 would try to cut inside the German’s circle. For an instant each pilot might find himself in an advantageous position and perhaps get off a few shots, but neither could stay in a favorable orientation long enough for a kill.
After an agonizing time engaged in this risky low level flying, it was plain that the match was going nowhere. Neither aviator could gain sufficient advantage over the other to prevail. Flying crazy like this, low in an unfamiliar city, would ultimately end in disaster. For the pilots, the tension, like the heat in the cockpit, was almost unbearable. Throwing the aircraft into one extreme maneuver after another at the very limit of controllability was physically exhausting.
As suddenly as this desperate life or death struggle began, the combatants broke it off, each frightened by the flying ability and tenacity of the other. They had both met their match and knowing so, with mutual relief they departed the city in separate directions.
In the spring of 2012, news reports began to filter out of Egypt announcing the discovery of a crashed P-40 aircraft. An oil exploration crew had found a well preserved wreck in the desert. There were bullet holes in the airplane and indications that the pilot had survived the emergency landing. Identification tags made it possible to trace the wreck. Official military records showed that on June 28, 1942 this aircraft and its pilot, 24 year-old British Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping, had completely vanished.
On that fateful day, did Flight Sergeant Copping, flying alone without escort, encounter a German ace and fight a desperate aerial dance of death? We’ll probably never know, but it’s indeed a fascinating possibility. If this is true, then Copping’s dogfight might rank among the great examples of aerial combat. Could he, against all odds, while piloting an obsolete aircraft, have successfully battled a noted German ace to a draw, only to later die alone of thirst and exposure in the desert? If so, he never got to tell his remarkable story or be recognized for his skill and bravery.
Those who might discount the P-40 as a fighter aircraft should take note. In the hands of the right pilot it could be
Last edited by bobbysocks; 11-19-2012 at 03:33 PM.
Anybody has any idea what the status is on this p40?
I found a "rumor" on - line that the Egyptian Military was trying to sell the plane to Britain at a price that was considered exorbitant.
“The entrance to the cockpit of this aircraft is most difficult. It should have been made impossible.” — Flight Journal magazine, April 2000, regards the XF10F-1, Grumman's first attempt at a swing wing fighter.
EDIT: I have been informed by REDCOAT that the same "quote was first used by a test pilot for the British, Blackburn B-26 Botha ( a very unloved aircraft) in 1938" - Thanks amigo!
"Death doesn't ask..."