So obviously I had to stop and go in. The original founder of the Curtiss Airplane Company was Glenn Curtiss and he was born in Hammondsport. He started off doing motor bikes and held the world speed record on this bike:
You'd need some courage to drive that at over 136 mph in 1907. As an overall world speed record it stood until 1911; but as a motorbike record, it was not surpassed until 1930, the year Glenn Curtiss died.
Obviously, being a Curtiss museum, they had a P40 in situ; in a nice diorama.
Some detailed shots follow.
This is a Flying Tiger version of the P40. The shark's teeth were apparently inspired by German pilots of Bf 110s in North Africa that painted their aircraft in a similar fashion.
There was an even better surprise out the back. The museum is restoring a P40 that was lost through a mid-air collision around 1949 in Florida. The aircraft was recovered from a swamp and brought to Hammondsport. They aim to keep as much of the original aircraft and paint finish as they can and replace just what is needed with new materials. You can see from the damage that this particular aircraft was hit in the tail by the propeller of another P40. The pilot of this aircraft was killed, but the other aircraft landed safely.
I'd recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. There are some fascinating items like the motorbike below. It's a Harley Davidson XA and the notice says that "this machine was inspired by the excellent desert performance of the Wehrmacht BMW bikes observed by American forces in Africa during Operation Torch in 1942". It has a 750 cc Boxer-style engine with a shaft drive and Harley built 1,000 of them in 1942. "XA" stands for Experimental Army. I'd bet that any other models in existence are worth a small fortune.
Now it's back to my own models for winter.
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