P-40 Warhawk over China

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Author Carl Molesworth shares tales from his latest book about air combat during World War II

SEATTLE, Aug. 19, 2008—Carl Molesworth has written several books about the P-40 Warhawk, including “Sharks Over China: The 23rd Fighter Group in World War II.” The 23rd was the successor to the American Volunteer Group, the famous “Flying Tigers.” Molesworth will share his exciting stories of the plane and the men who flew them on Saturday, August 23 at 2 p.m. Audience questions will be fielded after the presentation, followed by book signings by the author. The program is free with Museum admission.

Attendees at the program can enhance the experience of this program by seeing a real P-40 in the Museum’s Personal Courage Wing. The Museum’s P-40—painted in Flying Tigers colors—is one of many World War II aircraft on display.

One of the best-known U.S. combat aircraft of World War II, the P-40 eventually had the distinction of becoming the last of a long line of Curtiss “Hawk” named aircraft. By the end of the war, the P-40 had operated on virtually every front and consequently had served with the air forces of the majority of U.S. allies.

The P-40’s most notable World War II combat experience came at the hands of Gen. Claire Chennault’s American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as the “Flying Tigers.”

By 1945, the P-40 was obsolete and was removed from all front-line units following the cessation of hostilities.

The Museum’s P-40N is thought to have fewer than sixty hours total flying time—making it perhaps the lowest-time World War II fighter in existence. It sat for many years on display at Griffith Park in Lost Angeles until movie pilot Frank Tallman acquired it for loan to the San Diego Aerospace Museum for a “Flying Tiger” display. Tallman later sold the P-40 to warbird collector Doug Champlin in 1972. The renowned Champlin Collection has since become an important, permanent exhibit at The Museum of Flight. The Museum is also the designated home for the American Volunteer Group.

The Museum of Flight is one of the largest non-profit independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum’s collection includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the Red Barn®—the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The Museum’s aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. More than 140,000 children are served annually by the Museum’s on-site and outreach educational programs—the most extensive museum-based youth aviation and space education program in the country. The Museum is the only aviation museum in Washington State that is both nationally accredited with the American Association of Museums and a Smithsonian affiliate.

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $7.50 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org.

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