ALTHOUGH the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York State is predominantly concerned with aircraft designed by the company founder, during August 2011 a Curtiss P-40N restoration project arrived from Iowa on a truck provided by local aviation parts manufacturer Mercury Aircraft.
The project is based on two P-40s that were recovered from a swamp in Florida, into which they had crashed following a mid-air collision in 1945. When completed — it is hoped in about two years’ time — the P-40 will be displayed in a flight attitude. Visitors will be permitted to sit in the cockpit and work the controls for flaps, undercarriage, lights, and various other systems. One of the rebuilt Allison V-1710 engines from the Florida recovery will be reinstalled in the aircraft.
Despite the fact that P-40s were built 100 miles west of Hammondsport in Buffalo, Mercury Aircraft manufactured complete P-40 and SB2C Helldiver tail assemblies and fuel tanks during the war years. A 1931 Mercury S-1 monoplane racer is on show in the main museum building, alongside more than a dozen genuine and reproduction Curtiss aircraft dating from 1908-31.