Erickson Aircraft Collection

Join us as the Erickson Collection showcases history with the P-40 Kittyhawk and the F8F Bearcat!

The Curtiss P-40 was a development of the radial engined P-36/Hawk 75. The prototype XP-40 was a converted P-36A with the R-1830 replaced with an Allison V-1710-19 liquid cooled V-12. First flown in October 1938, the P-40 was evaluated at Wright Field in May 1939 resulting in an order for 524 aircraft.

This P-40E has undergone a 21 month restoration. Originally restored in the early 1980’s it was badly damaged in a forced landing in 1996. Stored for some time, it was initially purchased by Dick Thurman and subsequently sold to Tony Banta. Restoration was begun in June 2000 and it flew again on the 24th March 2002. The aircraft has made its debut at the ‘Warbirds Over Wanaka’ 2002 airshow.

Considered the best performing piston fighter, the Bearcat replaced the F6F Hellcat. It weights almost 2,000 lbs. less than the Hellcat. The Bearcat was the second featured aircraft of the Blue Angels. It did not see combat in WWII.

The museum’s Bearcat served with the Navy from 1948 to 1957. It became a photo recon aircraft in 1959. As a civilian plane it had a successful race career. In 1964 it won fourth place in Gold Unlimited in Reno. After its race career, it performed in airshows in Europe. In 1997 it came to the Heritage Flight Museum in Spokane, Washington and was restored to Navy combat specs. In September 2021, the Bearcat was acquired by the Erickson Aircraft Collection.

Find out more about the Erickson Collection at: