Warhawk registered in Belgium

A Curtiss P-40 Warhawk that has travelled the entire globe, has finally reached its destination, Antwerp Airport. The fighter, recently registered in Belgium as OO-WHK, arrived at Antwerp on 10 May, just in time  for the Flyin organized by the local Stampe & Vertongen museum on 11 and 12 May.

The P-40 is the first of its type ever in the Belgian register, thanks to its owner, a company called Salphen BV.

OO-WHK was built by the Curtiss company as USAAF 41-13570 (c/n 16786) and shipped to Russia under Lend-Lease. The Soviet Air Force received it in the spring of 1942 and gave it serial 51 Wh. It was flown to defend the port of Murmansk and the Kola peninsula, but already shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf-109 of II/JG5 on 1 June of that year.

It sank to the bottom after crashlanding on the ice surface of a lake west of Murmansk. The plane rested there until August 1997 when it was salvaged and transported to Sandown on the Isle of Wight.

In 2003 a restoration to flying status was taken up for an American customer, but he decided to sell the project in 2013. The 50% restored Warhawk was bought by Italian Claudio Coltri. He had the partially restored P-40 shipped to New Zealand.

Pioneer Aero in Ardmore finished the restoration which resulted in its first flight (as ZK-MOM) on 11 November 2021. The plane’s New Zealand registration was cancelled in August 2022 as exported to Italy. But Coltri obviously decided to dispose of his P-40 before having ever flown it. It was instead transported to FAST Aero at Brasschaat airfield in Belgium.

FAST Aero has performed the assembly and testing before the new owner picked it up.

Photo: Walter van Brempt

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