Thursday, July 2, 2009

Flying Tiger at the Ready

The American Volunteer Group (AVG), otherwise known as the Flying Tigers, has to rank as one of the most legendary units ever to make a name for itself in combat. Using Curtiss P-40B Warhawks, the AVG first went into action in the skies over Burma on 20 December 1941, nearly two weeks after Pearl Harbor. It's last mission as the AVG, before the group was absorbed by the U.S. Army Air Force 23rd Fighter Group, was - fittingly enough - on 4 July 1942, nearly 67 years ago.

The shape of the P-40's nose lent itself to the sharkmouth motif. An AVG pilot saw a photo of a British Royal Air Force P-40 unit based in North Africa that had the sharkmouth and decided it would look great on their aircraft as well. The 23rd FG adopted that look and continues the tradition to this day on their A-10A Warthogs.

I shot this image at the 2002 Hawthorne Air Faire, Hawthorne, CA. This was at the end of the day, with the approaching twilight coloring the sky and clouds. The P-40 looked ready to take to the air at a moments notice. It made for a very nice image.

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