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[Vintage_and_Warbirds_Pictures] Curtiss-Wright Production

Forwarded message - From: Steve Link

For all the pix go to….

This is apparently a test-flight or PR flight somewhere over Buffalo, or a checkout flight from the Kenmore Plant to the Buffalo Airport facility.
A new P-40B is in the foreground. Note the temporary 'grease pencil' production number ("247") on the aircraft's chin and tail. Note also the P-40's tail-wheel isn't retracted. Intentional? A production defect perhaps?
Interestingly, the aircraft to the rear appears to be a somewhat rare SBC-4 Helldiver, pristine and evidently unpainted, except for the yellow leading-edge of the upper wing. The SBC-4 entered service in 1939, was retired by 1943, and had the distinction of being the last U.S. Navy combat biplane. (FYI, the tail number of the pictured ship is likely 4248, visible in another photo in this series.)
This image shows a P-40 B/C loaded on a flatbed trailer at the Buffalo Airport. Likely taken sometime during the winter of 1940–41, this image isn't from the Life Magazine collection. I included it to show the earlier method that Curtiss used to transport finished aircraft to the airport for final testing, checkout, and delivery to the Army. Before the crush of production orders hit in 1940, loading the aircraft on train or truck (as shown here) was efficient enough. But after production increased, Curtiss quickly outgrew its Kenmore Avenue plant, and had to think of creative ways to eliminate bottlenecks in its overtaxed production process. Instead of train or truck, Curtiss test pilots simply flew newly minted aircraft right off the assembly line, using the parking lot of the factory as a makeshift runway.

This image proves the legend that P-40s (and perhaps other aircraft types) were flown right off the assembly line from the parking lot at Curtiss' Kenmore Avenue plant. Apparently, due to production demand space limitations at the factory location, the craft were test-flown to the Buffalo Airport for final checkout and delivery.
Photographer: Dmitri Kessel, Life Magazine

Posted by: Steve Link <>

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