Amongst the many significant aircraft on their books, our sponsors at Platinum Fighter Sales regularly feature combat-veteran warbirds on offer. One of the more fascinating projects within their inventory at present is P-40N 42-105744 which served with the US Army Air Forces’ 8th Fighter Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. According to the details provided, this aircraft rolled off the Curtiss factory line in Buffalo, New York during 1942 and eventually made its way to the South Pacific to join in the war effort. At some point, it is known to have flown with the name Flo II and the unit number, 63, painted in yellow on its nose, as depicted in the wartime image below.
Between September, 1942 and May, 1944, the 8th Fighter Squadron was based at various locations in New Guinea. One of the Squadron’s pilots, Charles A. Peterson, is known to have scored a brace of aerial victories in Flo II during the spring of 1944. Peterson eventually gained command of the 8th on May 22nd, 1944.
While the exact fate which befell 42-105744 during WWII is unknown at present, it clearly was involved in a significant accident of some kind. The wreck ended up being pushed into a hole and buried in Finschhafen, New Guinea, as did numerous other aircraft during the war. And there the P-40 seemed destined to stay until some intrepid salvagers recovered her mortal remains during the 1990s. The current owner began a restoration effort in Melbourne, Australia about twenty years ago, and has made significant progress with the fuselage reconstruction, incorporating as many original parts as possible.
According to Platinum Fighter Sales, the project comprises the partially rebuilt fuselage and numerous other parts (email Platinum for a list and photographs) as well as substantial original wreckage, including the wings, which confirm the airframe’s identity and provenance.