Pioneer Aero’s Curtiss P-40E Restoration Update

Photo via Pioneer Aero Ltd.

It’s been a little while since we last looked in on progress with Claudio Coltri’s Curtiss P-40E Warhawk 41-13570 at Pioneer Aero Ltd. in Auckland, New Zealand. We are happy to report that the combat veteran fighter has just passed a major milestone in its progression towards first flight, with the installation of its wings on June 8th, 2020.

Hoisting the wings with gear extended outside of the restoration hangar. (image via Pioneer Aero)

Leveling the wings off, with the gear touching the tarmac in preparation for mounting the fuselage. (image via Pioneer Aero)

Hoisting the fuselage towards the wings for mating the two together. (image via Pioneer Aero)

Gently lowering the fuselage into position on the wings. (image via Pioneer Aero)

Claudio Coltri’s Curtiss P-40E Warhawk now sittings on its gear inside the restoration hangar at Pioneer Aero in Auckland, New Zealand. (image via Pioneer Aero)

As readers will recall from our two previous articles about the restoration HERE and HERE, this Warhawk was recovered substantially intact from a Russian fresh water lake back in 1997. As such, a lot of original material has been available for incorporating into its restoration. Once she flies, the P-40 is destined for Italy, where she will be the first airworthy Curtiss Kittyhawk/Warhawk of any stripe to call the nation home since soon after the end of WWII! However, Italy does boast the sole-surviving, and incredibly well-preserved, Merlin-engined P-40L 42-10857 on display at the Museo Piana delle Orme in Latina, nearby the Anzio beachhead where she ditched in the sea on January 31st, 1944 with 2ndLt Michael Mauritz at the controls.

It will be great to see a P-40 in the skies over Italy when Claudio Coltri’s example finally arrives! Bravo to all concerned in the restoration of this remarkable airframe!


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