Hurry Up and Save This Newly Discovered P-40!

Happy Friday. To kick this weekend off early check out this video of a newly discovered RAF Curtis P-40 Warhawk that has sat undiscovered in near perfect condition in the Sahara Desert in Egypt since crash-landing there during World War II.

The American-made P-40 was being flown by its RAF pilot, a 24-year old Flight Sgt. Dennis Copping, to a British base in Northern Eygpt for repairs when it suffered engine trouble and Copping made a crash landing 200-miles from the nearest town. Poor Copping tried to repair the engine and shelter himself from the deadly sun with his parachute, but his efforts were to no avail and he died somewhere in the desert.

The plane, one of thousand of P-40s made for the U.S. and its allies, was discovered recently by a Polish oil company worker and it’s remarkably intact. The video below shows the cockpit and ammo looking almost new, certainly not 70 years old.

Now, the P-40 is supposedly going to be shipped to the RAF museum in the UK but museum officials had better act quickly since scavengers are already beginning to remove parts from the aircraft!

The P-40 was a late 1930s-vintage design and was becoming obsolete by the time Copping crashed this one in 1942 — the type would soon be replaced in U.S. service by the more capable and legendary P-38 Lightning,P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang. While P-40s are most famous for their American service it was with the British Commonwealth’s Desert Air Force in North Africa and the Middle East that the plane first saw combat.

Click through the jump for the video.

Via Gizmodo.

Click here to see more pics.

  • DGR

    What a good looking bird!

    Looks like the pilot made one hell of a good crash landing. Amazing how well preserved it is after all these years.

  • Max

    great find i always loved those old p-40s hopefully this bird makes it to the museum intact before the scavengers tear it up forever

  • tiger

    Neat find. Hard believe nobody found it till now. 200 miles from help in a desert? Crappy way to die.

  • Pat

    Finally something interesting and not about an F-35 or F-22

  • BaBaBoooEeeeee

    “Poor Copping tried to repair the engine”???????? You have to be joking. Yes the aircraft looks like it is in excellent shape to be put into a museum but did he mean to fly it again? By the visible condition of the prop (0:18) and landing gear, there was no way that aircraft was taking off again from his repairs, especially from a sand “runway.” He must have been pretty dehydrated.

  • tiger

    Reminds me of that movie “Flight of the Pheonix.”

  • Musson

    Now William Shatner can go back and talk to the Ghost pilot of this missing plane that he accidentally led off its true course.

    (Sole Survivor – 1970)

  • Juramentado

    Some reports indicate the pilot actually tried to yank the radio out of the plane and set it up with batteries. He might have also set up shade as a discarded silk chute canopy was found nearby. In any case, a lousy way to go. Given he was already lost, he could only rely on general direction in trying to find help.

  • Lance

    Cool video. Hope they bring it back soon to England. I find it cool the dry conditions in North Africa preserve they remnants of WW2 in near mint condition where as in the Pacific the heat and moisture eats any relic away to nothing in all but a couple of years. With the sanctions lifted from Libya someone should get the B-24 bomber ”Lady Be Good” and take the remains from Libya back to the USA. The bomber itself for nearly 20 years was one of WW2s biggest mysteries.

  • Nicky

    What’s surprising is that that the P-40 was flown by a NCO Flight Sgt. Back then it was common for NCO Flight SGT’s to be pilots. Now, for anyone to be a pilot, one has to be at a minimum a Warrant officer. It would be impossible today for a SGT to be a pilot. How times have changed. Maybe the USAF can revive warrant officer pilots or Flight SGT pilots.

    • TMB

      Britain’s pilot officer corps was bled dry early in the war with the Battle of Britain. They always had manpower issues during the war so they used everybody they could get their hands on to fly.

    • tiger

      Thoughts are that they may go that way for drone pilots. Why do you need 4 years at the Academy to fly a drone? Just the personnel payroll costs make it a good idea.

    • Jim

      My Dad started out as a Flying SSgt in the AAF. Army Staff Sgt Chevrons with the Wings and Propeller in the center of the Chevrons. He said high level officers, back then, were not happy that the Sgts were pilots, because the commander (Pilot) of the airplane is in charge while the plane is airborne, and they didn’t like a Sgt being able to tell them what to do. He said the answer, at that time, was to create the Flight Officer Grade, which was similar to the Warrant Officer used by ground forces. The FO “bar” was oval in shape and was Blue-Gold-Blue. He was battlefield Commissioned to 2nd Lt. after landing in Normandy flying a British Horsa Glider. He was a dual rated pilot, Transports and Gliders. Personally, I believe this same type of thinking still goes on today, and that is why the AF has no Warrants, while all the other Branches do.

  • mike

    just to correct ya its a p40 kitty hawk folks as its the p40b and what an amazing find i couldnt beleive it when i read bout it i hope it makes it to my local air museum at RAF cosford

  • stephen russell

    They can reuse parts from archieve or produce from plans.
    Doable.
    UK must have WW2 archieves someplace for project, No great loss.
    Now If they take the fueslage, then real problems.

  • I worked in Tabuk, KSA on the Bradley program in 96-98. We would go fishing at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba. There was a PBY Catalina there. Bought after the war by a Aussie Doctor and converted into a flying recreational vehicle for his family. They tour the world in it(perfect aircraft for that). While transiting from Cyprus to Aden they were shot down by Saudis, arrested and put on trial for spying. After 3 months they were all(Mom,Pop&4 kids) beheaded. Was there 2 years ago, the Aircraft still sits on the coral reef and looks 90% intact.

  • Rohan

    Woooo…where is it!! Can we buy it for the museum ???

  • Glen

    The pilot of the plane is still alive.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/11/plane-of-

  • Noha307

    Screw Kony. P-40 2012!

    Who’s with me! Go camp out there and cordon off the aircraft until the museum folks arrive.

  • William C.

    Such incredible condition yet idiots are already jumping atop the thing and tearing it apart.

  • Mike

    My Gawd, a P-40E, aka Kittyhawk 1a!

  • french guy

    In memory of all heroes who disappeared without leaving trace….

    • Sgt_Buffy

      *salutes

  • D. Roy

    I’m sure everyone is knows the story of the Lady Be Good, the B-24 that sat alone and undisturbed for twenty years, then torn to shreds over the decades. This Kittyhawk is the next Lady Be Good, only it is possible now to prevent what happened to the Lady Be Good to happen to this Kittyhawk. If I had died for freedom and my wrecked plane was my only grave marker, I sure as hell would be pissed if passerbys ripped it apart for suvenirs. Act quickly.

  • Mastro

    If that plane was Lend Lease- I believe its US property.

    Might have been Cash and Carry back when congress had no guts-

  • Fahmy
  • blair

    If they restore it. They should put it back in the spot were it crashed, because thats the pilots resting place, and thats his plane. Then they should have a building or place kinda like a museum or display set up and use the money they make for charity. That would be nice for the plane to once again help people in need.

    • !
  • blair