Curtiss P36 / Hawk 75 - Background

The Inspiration

First flown in 1935, Curtiss developed the Hawk 75 as a private venture. A year later, the US Army awarded Curtiss a purchase contract for the Hawk under the designation of P-36 (export versions retained the Hawk 75 name).

Over 200 P-36’s were built for the USAAC during the lead up to WW2, but by 1941 the P-36 was rapidly being replaced by its more powerful sibling, the P-40. The only combat seen by the P-36 was at Pearl Harbor where two pilots each downed a Japanese aircraft.

Internationally, the Hawk was a much more successful aircraft. Over 900 were distributed around the world to countries as varied as Argentina, China, Iran, and England. South African and Dutch pilots flew it against the Japanese in the Pacific, Thais flew it against the French over Thailand, and French flew against Americans in Africa! American P36’s may not have been in service very long, but the Hawk was still in flying long after WW2—Argentina was still flying Hawks in 1954. But it is the aircraft that were sold to France that had the most colorful history.

The Hawk performed on roughly equal terms against the Luftwaffe’s early Bf 109’s in the Battle of France. After France fell, Germany captured 30 French Hawk 75’s. These were sold to Finland where they flew against Soviet forces including the Polikarpov I-16. Well-loved by the Finnish pilots, the “Sussu” or sweetheart became an ace-maker while racking up an incredible 12.6:1 kill ratio.

The Model



Wingspan 60"
Length 45.8"
Weight 58oz
Wing Area 591 sq in
Power FMS 4258 650kV
Propellor 14 x 8 3-blade
Battery 4S 3800mAh