P-40 Memories
by John McAlister

My experience flying a P-40 came as part of our training in transitioning from the North American AT-6, a training aircraft, to a combat aircraft. I had (I think) a little over 100 hours in the P-40. I flew a P-51 with the 8th AF; 359th Fighter Group; 370th Squadron. I never even sat in a P-51 until I got to England in 1944.

As far as the P-40 training there was no group or squadron designation so far as I know. We were in the Southeast Training Command (I think), at Sarasota, Florida. I'm afraid I have no pictures of the P-40's we flew and I have no clue as to what model they might have been.

It was a good airplane. Fun to fly but a little tricky to land, especially at night, because of the narrow landing gear. There was another transitional training base at Venice, Fla. just south of Sarasota, and they were flying P-51's. For fun we used to jump them and dog fight. The 51 could run away from the P-40; could dive away from the P-40; and could climb away from the P-40; but in a turning dog fight the P-40 would eat the 51 alive!

I'm sorry I don't have more specific information for you. That was over 60 years ago and memory is not my strong suit anymore. (Probably never was!)

© John McAlister 2007