Curtiss P-1 Hawk
In 1924 the U.S. Army changed its designation system; since 1920 there had been a total of seven
different designations for pursuit aircraft, each being assigned based on the role of the aircraft
and the type of engine which powered it. The designations were as follows:
PA (Pursuit, Air-cooled)
PG (Pursuit, Ground Attack)
PN (Pursuit, Night)
PS (Pursuit, Special Alert)
PW (Pursuit, Water-cooled)
TP (Two-seat, Pursuit)
The change abolished all seven designations in favor of the all-inclusive 'P for Pursuit' designation.
The Curtiss PW-8B was the first Army pursuit aircraft procured after this change, and therefore was given
the designation 'P-1'. The P-1 was also the first Curtiss fighter to be christened with the name 'Hawk'.
National Museum of the United States Air Force -
This P-1B, serial number 27-78, initially served with the 27th Pursuit Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group
at Selfridge Field, Michigan. On June 20th, 1928 she was groundlooped on landing by Lt. Frank Irvin.
After that incident I believe the Hawk was sent to the Fairfield Air Depot in Ohio for repairs, and
that was probably when this photo was taken. (Note the 'F.A.D.' on the lowest line of the serial block.)
This ship's immediate subsequent history is unknown to me, but she eventually wound up with the Air
Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Illinois where she suffered a second ground loop on
August 1st, 1931 with a Lilburn D. Fator behind the stick. I've no further info on this Hawk.
Project 914 Archives (S.Donacik collection) -
P-1A #13 of the 27th Pursuit Squadron, possibly at Jeffery Field, Boston,
Massachusetts, which today is known as Logan International Airport.
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection -
A closer look...
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection
Lieutenant John Thadeus Johnson of the 27th Pursuit Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group was killed
after a midair collision over Hunt Club Field at Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on July 2nd, 1927.
Johnson was one of twelve pilots from the 1st Pursuit Group who were escorting Charles Lindbergh
from Selfridge Field, Michigan to Ottawa to take part in Canada's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
Apparently Johnson's P-1A Hawk had dipped down out of the formation momentarily, then was struck
in the tail by the propeller of a trailing plane after quickly rising back up into the formation.
Johnson was seen to attempt to bail out, but the formation was flying at roughly 100 feet above
the ground at the time, and his parachute hadn't enough time to fully deploy.
San Diego Air & Space Museum -
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