Special one-of-a-kind 24x36-inch display, incorporating rare P-400 (P-39) pilot's instrument panel! Unique to the P-400 export model of the P-39 Airacobra, this panel is well marked with switches for the gun camera, gunsight, wing, nose, and fuselage guns.
This aircraft, serial number AP335, was one of several P-400, export versions of the Bell P-39, built and painted for delivery to the Royal Air Force under Lend Lease prior to Pearl Harbor in 1941. As a consequence of the outbreak of the WAr in the Pacific, these P-400s were instead delivered to the USAAF in Australia, and later, Papua New Guinea. The British roundels were painted over with US stars, but the RAF camouflage remained. These aircraft were flown hard over the next several years, long after they were technically obsolete, against the Japanese in the South Pacific.
AP335 was assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron, then operating from Port Moresby, PNG. On August 3rd, 1943, piloted by Lt. Everett H. Van Patten, this P-400 flew escort for several C-47 transports bound for Tsili-Tsili Airfield. The flight was jumped by several Japanese Air Force Ki-43 'Oscar' fighters, and AP335 took a hit to its coolant system. With his engine overheating, Van Patten made a wheels-up emergency landing on Bulldog Island. Van Patten returned to duty, but AP335 sat where it landed until 1984, when it was recovered for eventual restoration.
Size is 24x36. Signed and numbered one of one. This section of the panel is well marked with gun and gun sight switches unique to the P-400. Very rare and with combat history!
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