Curtiss Hawk 75A-1 (G-CCVH / X-881 / No82) from The Fighter Collection (Imperial War Museums, Duxford Airfield - United Kingdom)
in an authentic "Armée de l’Air" standard three-tone scheme at the 46th International Paris Air Show (SIAE) 2005, Le Bourget (France)
The Curtiss H-75 was a private venture which flew for the first time in May 1935. Following development and a new engine, three prototype aircraft were ordered by the US Army Air Corps under the designation Y1P-36. This eventually led to the P-36 lineage which went on to serve with around a dozen air arms across the world, including the USAAC as the P-36, the RAF as the Mohawk, and France as the H-75. This Hawk (G-CCVH) is one of the 100 in the first production batch sent to the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air), and given the individual aircraft number 82, arriving in April 1939. Issued to 1ére Escadrille, Groupe de Combat 11/5 Lafayette at Reims, where she carried the command stripes on the fuselage of the personal aircraft of Commandant Murtin, CO of both GC 1/5 and GC 11/5. She moved to Toul during the Battle of France, and then on to Oran in Algeria before the Armistice. From 1940 to 1942 Hawk No.82’s Squadron was engaged in sporadic skirmishes with RAF and USN aircraft over Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Between 1946 and 1949 Hawk No.82 was with the 4th Training Squadron at Cazaux in Western France serving as an advanced trainer with 22 other H-75s. Hawk No.82 was saved from scrapping in the 1950’s and was placed in storage in France until acquired by TFC (The Fighter Collection) in 1995. Following a major overhaul in the US she made her UK debut in 2005. This Hawk (G-CCVH) is painted in the original Armée de l’Air colours she wore in the battle of France with serial 82, coded X-881 of 3 Escadrille "Lafayette" of Groupe de Chasse II/5 based at Toul during the battle of France. The green band on the fuselage, going behind the Sioux Indian head motif (the badge of 3 Escadrille and also the TFC logo), shows that is was the Hawk of the Commanding Officer of 3 Escadrille. The Fighter Collection’s Hawk is a very rare aircraft, as she is the only airworthy example of the Curtiss P-36 lineage left anywhere in the world.