Frozen in the sands of time: Plane of Second World War discovered in the Sahara desert


Posted by peiper    United Kingdom   on 05/10/2012 at 09:59 AM   
  1. Outstanding.

    A bit of digging about shows the first announcement of the find, in Polish -

    The same guys then put up all their pictures on a Picassa page -

    and 3 YouTube videos that link to each other

    similar pics on reddit

    The airplane is a P40-E, also known as a Kittyhawk Mk Ia: Allison engine, 6 .50s in the wings, air inlet above the cowling, no extra fillet at the front base of the tail. Somewhere there is another story waiting to be told ... the battery seems to be Australian.

    Sadly, the idiots in Egypt have no respect and no self-control -
    “Since the discovery, the wreck has been seriously vandalized - a travesty the whole aviation world seems unable to stop. The perspex has been smashed out, bullet holes appear in the cowling and other forms of damage and theft seem to be underway.”

    And I can’t even blame the average Abdul over this; the wreck is hundreds of miles deep in the desert, and in an area controlled by the Egyptian Army. In other words, it is the Army who is doing the looting and vandalism. Sand lice. Any fool the world over with the smallest awareness of the world would know that this old airplane is worth several million dollars. But not the fuckers in the camel corps. To them, it’s scrap metal and a target.

    Best link I could find:

    Posted by Drew458    United States   05/10/2012  at  02:55 PM  

  2. And another tail to hang thereby ...

    The 2nd plane in, B HS (plane B from squadron HS) is a K model (see the tail fillet?) that appears to be the replacement ship for this very plane ..
    ... and that K model was flown by “Stocky” Edwards, Canadian ace, who is still living ... and still flying, at least once at the controls of “his” Kittyhawk…


    No, I have no idea why the Canadians put the E model tail on a K model plane when they made it a 2 seater. Perhaps they used an L model stretched fuselage to get the space for the extra seat. Not all the Ls had the bigger tail. An awful lot of these old warbirds are made up of whatever parts could be scrounged, which makes them more like the planes out in the theaters, shot up, bent up, and put back together with what-have-you than any brand new planes factory fresh.

    ... or PERHAPS I should just learn to read more carefully: The Canadian ship is an N model, merely painted up to look like Stocky’s wartime K model. Confusing.

    Posted by Drew458    United States   05/10/2012  at  03:36 PM  

  3. There could be multiple planes of different types with the same markings in the RAF, one after the other. The first two letters are the squadron the third is the aircraft.

    In this case the squadron designator is HS, the individual aircraft are denoted by adding one more letter. All the 260 squadron aircraft would be marked HS-A, HS-B, HS-C and so on. When an aircraft was destroyed or scrapped the replacement aircraft would be given the old one’s markings. So it is quite possible that the same markings would be on a succession of Hurricanes in 1939 and 1940, then on Mk V Spitfires in 41 and 42, then on Mk IXs as the squadron re-equipped with different types and replaced losses. I have read that prior to the war a squadron would have 16 or 20 aircraft on strength but only 12 pilots, the extra aircraft were there so that when an aircraft needed maintenance it could be put down and the pilot would be given one fresh from maintenance so the squadron could still fly at full strength. Unlike the USAAF, RAF fighter pilots did not have their ‘own’ machine with a few exceptions for aces, such as Johnnie E Johnson in Spitfire JE-J.

    At the end of WWII thousands of airplanes were scrapped. Unfortunately the Kittyhawk was an old design so I suspect that almost all of them were sold by weight and melted down into pots, pans and aluminium siding. Oh to have a time machine that could create a portal a hundred feet wide and twenty-five high!

    Posted by Al_in_Ottawa    Canada   05/10/2012  at  06:16 PM  

  4. You are too right Al. One of the links I followed on this story lead me to a page that listed the whereabouts of every single surviving P-40 in the world, very few of which are actually in flying condition. Their histories were listed. Some of them had been sold off as scrap; one to a farmer who had kept the plane for a couple years then buried it.

    Buried it? WTH?? Dude, it might have been a rotted old plane, but it wasn’t fertilizer!

    Posted by Drew458    United States   05/11/2012  at  06:58 AM  

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