Famous Warbirds Throughout History
Posted on September 29, 2015
One of the most common questions we get about are products is “can you tell me more about the warbird fans and the planes they are based off of?” It’s a great question, as they are hands-down the most unique products we offer, so we thought that we would take some time to give you a bit of history behind the planes.
Introduced in 1917, the Sopwith Camel made an immediate impact for the Royal Air Force during the First World War. Outfitted with a powerful rotary engine and twin synchronized machine guns, the biplane and its pilots were credited with downing a record 1,294 enemy aircraft (more then any other plane during the conflict). The plane was noted for having light and sensitive controls, but could be maneuvered well by an experienced pilot. As the plane lost ground to faster, quicker planes, the Camel still proved to be an effective ground-attack aircraft.
P-40 Warhawk “Flying Tiger”
The Curtiss P-40 was the third most-produced warbird during World War II, behind only the P-51 Mustang and the P-47 Thunderbolt. Because it lacked a two-speed supercharger, it was easily outclassed by German fighters and therefore rarely used in Northwest Europe. Although, the plane proved to be extremely effective in North Africa, the Southwest Pacific, and China, where it was used as a bomber escort and fighter-bomber.
The 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force, known as the “Flying Tigers”, established the shark-faced nose art that has become synonymous with the P-40. The Flying Tigers provided crucial tactical victories during a period of time when the Allied Forces were finding little success in the Southwest Pacific.
Vought F4U Corsair “Black Sheep”
The F4U Corsair was a warbird that primarily saw service in the Central Pacific during WWII and the Korean War. Used primarily to support the efforts of the Marine Corps on the ground, the Corsair quickly showed its superiority over Japanese aircraft. The checkerboard detail toward the propellers of the plane was a symbol of the “Black Sheep” Squadron, which was led by Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. Boyington was one of the most celebrated Corsair pilots, as was credited with 22 aerial victories.
P-51 Mustang “Glamorous Glen III”
The P-51 Mustang was THE warbird during WWII. Its superb maneuverability, reliable engine and high capacity for fuel made the plane a perfect bomber escort. Eventually, the planes performed so well that they were pulled off bomber defense and used to attack German fighters directly. It was at this point that the Allies began to dominate the skies during the war.
A particularly notable Mustang, named “Glamorous Glen III”, was flown by a pilot by the name of Chuck Yeager. Yeager would go on to become the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound.