Aviation Historian 26
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A.Tincopa - Wings over Peru
Four weatherbeaten Hawk 75s of the CAP’s 11 Escuadron de Caza (11 EC) prepare to take off from Capitan Victor Montes Air Base at Talara.
Peruvian President Manuel Prado Ugarteche (in suit) reviews the newly-arrived Hawks at Las Palmas air base in Lima on September 23, 1942, on the conclusion of their delivery flight of more than 3,000 miles (4,800km). That year Prado became the first South American leader to break relations with the Axis powers and join the Allies.
In the second half of 1946 the CAP instituted a revised three-digit serial system for all the aircraft in its inventory, the Hawks apparently being given numbers in the high-200s and low-300s range. An anti-glare panel on the upper engine cowling and fuselage surfaces forward of the cockpit was retained, however. This photograph of serial 287 shows the post-1946 bare-metal or aluminium paint scheme.
From left to right, Tenientes Thorndike, Barbosa and Bravo, all 11 EC officers, pose in front of a Hawk while off-duty at Chiclayo in 1949. Thorndike went on to become a member of the Four Aces Hawker Hunter formation aerobatic team after the British jet fighter’s introduction into Fuerza Aerea del Peru sevice in 1956.
The application of “pin-up girls” on the CAP’S Hawks was unusual, despite the fact that one of the style’s most famous exponents, Alberto Vargas y Chavez, creator of the racy “Vargas girls” that became extremely popular in pre-war America, was himself Peruvian. This Hawk, the personal mount of Teniente Rolando Caro of 11 EC, was clearly an exception.
The Hawks were initially given serials based on an "Italian-style" model, with the Escuadron number to the left of the CAP roundel, with the Escadrille number to the right, hyphenated with the individual aircraft number. Here 11*3-2 of the 3rd Escadrille of 11 EC performs a patrol over the coast south of the strategically important oil production facilities at Talara.
In 1946 the CAP serial system was revised, this Hawk bearing serial “286” and an unidentified unit badge on its dark-blue finish with zinc-chromate control surfaces.
A CAP officer discusses the details of a Hawk 75 test flight with two members of the American military mission sent to assist with the test-flight and pilot-conversion programme beside a freshly-painted matt dark-sea-blue Hawk of 11 EC. The Hawk 75A-8 was essentially the same as the RAF’s Mohawk IV.
Officers of 11 EC pose for a photograph beside one of the six Hawk 75s that arrived at Lt-Col Pedro Ruiz Gallo air base in Chiclayo on September 22, 1942, on their ferry flight from the USA to the Peruvian capital. For the delivery flight the aircraft were painted in an anticorrosion finish, which was replaced after their arrival.
A rare photograph of 11 EC Hawks at Las Palmas, including machines from all three of the squadron’s Escadrilles. The CAP’s Norwegian connection was continued with the acquisition of 13 Douglas 8A-5N fighter-bombers in November 1943 - the full story of Peru’s Douglas 8A-3Ps and -5Ns will be presented in a future issue.
Gathered in front of what appears to be a mixed collection of bare-metal and dark-blue Hawks, a group of 11 EC pilots complete a last-minute briefing at Lt-Col Pedro Ruiz Gallo air base at Chiclayo. The next generational leap for the FAP came in 1955, when the air arm began equipping with jet aircraft, receiving Lockheed T-33 trainers and North American F-86F Sabres.
Aircraft of the 51 Escuadron de Instruccion during a ceremony at Las Palmas air base in Lima in 1954. In a line-up which includes North American AT-6s, Stearman Kaydets, Fairchild PT-26s and Beech AT-11 Kansans, at least three of the Hawks, with their three-bladed propellers, are just visible bringing up the very rear of the group.
Representing a much more advanced machine than the CAP was generally used to, the Hawk 75 had handling idiosyncracies which caused numerous accidents, particularly in combination with inexperienced pilots. Here 11*2-2 is seen in an all-too-common position after having flipped on to its back during landing at Talara in early 1944.
Yet another photograph of a CAP Hawk having come to grief, this time 21*2-4 of the 2nd Escadrille of 21 EC, which has suffered a collapsed port mainwheel after running off the runway at Tte Humberto Torres Air Base at Limatambo on September 10, 1945. At this point the Hawks were all still in their dark-blue overall finish, but after 1946 a mainly bare-metal scheme was adopted.
Engine failure on the approach to Talara led to a mid-air collision between Hawks 11*3-2 and 11*3-3 on February 23, 1944, the former seen here after coming to rest at the foot of the cliffs on the threshold of the Talara runway. Sadly, the pilot, Francisco Cossio Tudela was killed, along with 11*3-3’s pilot, Reynaldo Moron Espinoza.
Aircraft of the 51 Escuadron de Instruccion during a ceremony at Las Palmas air base in Lima in 1954. In a line-up which includes North American AT-6s, Stearman Kaydets, Fairchild PT-26s and Beech AT-11 Kansans, at least three of the Hawks, with their three-bladed propellers, are just visible bringing up the very rear of the group.
Aircraft of the 51 Escuadron de Instruccion during a ceremony at Las Palmas air base in Lima in 1954. In a line-up which includes North American AT-6s, Stearman Kaydets, Fairchild PT-26s and Beech AT-11 Kansans, at least three of the Hawks, with their three-bladed propellers, are just visible bringing up the very rear of the group.
Aircraft of the 51 Escuadron de Instruccion during a ceremony at Las Palmas air base in Lima in 1954. In a line-up which includes North American AT-6s, Stearman Kaydets, Fairchild PT-26s and Beech AT-11 Kansans, at least three of the Hawks, with their three-bladed propellers, are just visible bringing up the very rear of the group.
Aircraft of the 51 Escuadron de Instruccion during a ceremony at Las Palmas air base in Lima in 1954. In a line-up which includes North American AT-6s, Stearman Kaydets, Fairchild PT-26s and Beech AT-11 Kansans, at least three of the Hawks, with their three-bladed propellers, are just visible bringing up the very rear of the group.
The seven North American NA-50 fighters supplied to Peru arrived by ship at Callao Harbour in March 1939 and after assembly and test-flights, entered service shortly thereafter. The type, nicknamed Torito (“Little Bull”) in CAP service, played a major part in the Guerra del ’41 on the Peru-Ecuador border, two examples being lost during the conflict.