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  P-40N-5-CU "The Carolina Belle" Serial Number 42-104947  
USAAF
5th AF
49th FG
8th FS

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Phil Bradley 1999
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via Classic Jets 2001Click For Enlargement
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Justin Taylan 2006

Aircraft History
Built by Curtis in Buffalo, New York. Assigned to the US Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 8th Fighter Squadron. Assigned to pilot Ernest A. "Ernie" Harris. Nicknamed "The Carolina Belle".

Wartime History
This P-40 was flown by Harris on combat missions spanning at least January 7 until April 11, 1943. Flying this P-40, he scored seven (of his ten) claimed victories, including:
January 7, 1943 - 3 victories
March 3, 1943 - 1 victories
April 11, 1943 - 3 victories

After his 7th victory, Harris was promoted from 1st Lt to Captain and assigned another aircraft.

Next, this P-40 was taken over by another (unknown) pilot who claimed two additional victories.

Mission History
Later, the plane crash landed at Finschhafen Airfield and was written off and later buried or partially buried.

Wreckage
The fuselage section and portions of the tail remained buried at Finschhafen Airfield until 1997. On the wreckage, the pilot's name "Capt E. A. Harris" is still visible on the fuselage, plus ten victory flags and the original olive drab exterior paint.

Recovery
During 1997, the cockpit section and pieces of the tail were excavated from the ground with a bulldozer from where they were buried at Finschhafen Airfield by Robert Jarrett / Classic Jets Museum and exported to Australia.

Display
Since at least 1999, displayed at Classic Jets Fighter Museum, combining this fuselage with that from other planes to make a more complete looking display.

Robert Jarrett, of Classic Jets Fighter Museum adds:
"Murray Griffiths and I did a swap, Murray gets Carolina Belle in exchange for P39F 41-7215 which was statically restored by Ian Mullins in Queensland. The P-39 was disassembled to supply patterns for Murray's three flying [Aira]cobra projects. Capt. Ernest (Ernie) Harris was the highest scoring ace in the Pacific war in P-40 Kittyhawks and this will be Murray's new P-40."

Circa 2005, this P-40 was traded to Precision Aerospace / Pacific Fighters Museum where it was placed on display in their restoration area as of 2006.

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Last Updated
January 1, 2014

 

Tech Info
P-40

 

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