Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA5509 P-40N "Black Magic" HU-E, 78 Sqn., RAAF, Morotai, early 1945
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk first flew in 1938 as a modification of the Curtiss P-36 Hawk.
Warhawk was the official U.S. designation while the name Tomahawk was used by the
British Commonwealth and Soviet forces for the P-40B and C and Kittyhawk for P-40Ds
and later variants. The P-40 was first used by British squadrons in North Africa and the
Middle East in 1941. The P-40 lacked a two-speed supercharger making them inferior
to German aircraft but was an adequate fighter in low altitude combat zones. Almost
12,000 P-40s were produced.
The original pilot of P-40N HU-E “Black Magic” serial A29-575 (US 42-106386) was
Flight Lieutenant Denis R. Baker, DFC assigned to the RAAF 78 Squadron. Originally
Baker was an aircraft mechanic but on November 14, 1944 received his pilot wings and
was posted to 78 Squadron. He flew 95 operational sorties operating from bases in
Noemfoor, Morotai and Tarakan. Baker was promoted to Flight Sergeant and later
Warrant Officer. Baker scored the last RAAF victory of the New Guinea campaign.
HU-E was later flown by Warrant Officer Len Waters, the first Australian Aboriginal
Span: 37 ft. 4 in.
Length: 31 ft. 9 in.
Height: 12 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 9,100 lbs. loaded
Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns; 700 lbs. of bombs externally
Engine: Allison V-1710 of 1,150 hp.
Maximum speed: 362 mph.
Cruising speed: 235 mph.
Range: 850 miles
Ceiling: 30,000 ft.