Plane That Survived Pearl Harbor – Still Soaring The Skies
Pride And Joy.
The North American P-64 ranks among one of the rarest warbirds with only 13 units produced. This gorgeous warbird is the pride and joy of the Experimental Aircraft Association because of its rich history. This fighter served the United States Army Air Forces and the Peruvian Air Force until its retirement in 1950. The P-64 is often referred to as the “export fighter version of the AT-6 Texan” due to some design similarities.
It is a miracle that this plane can fly considering the journey it has gone through. This P-64 was present at Pearl Harbor en route to Thailand during the Japanese attack.
“This actual airplane amazingly was in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. It was on its way to Thailand as part of an order of six that went to the Royal Thai Airforce. When it looked like Japan was going to overrun Southeast Asia they recalled those airplanes and they happened to be on a ship in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, which is one reason it was a good year to bring it back out to show all our fellow EAAers this year this iconic airplane.”
– Rick Siegfried (Warbirds of America)
The P-64s were confiscated by the United States Government as part of the Neutrality Act and were transferred McClellan Field in California. After World War II, this P-64 was flying en route to Albuquerque when it suffered an engine trouble and was forced down. It was on its way to the scrap pile when North American Aviation’s Jack Canary purchased the plane for $800. However, Jack Canary was not the only prominent aviation figure who took notice of this rare plane.
“Then in 1963, it caught the eye of Paul Poberezny, President of the EAA, while he was visiting Ray Stits at the Flabob Airport in Riverside, California. By this time, the aircraft had been painted in its present blue and yellow with red and white trim scheme.”
Since 1963 it has been the centerpiece of the Experimental Aircraft Association and even inscribed with their former president’s name. A restoration crew brought this P-64 back to flying condition in 2013 and is now prized plane of the EAA. Now after a long hiatus see it soar again for aviation fans at its home in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.