Yesterday's Hawks. By: Chris Golds, Signed by: Ernest Warburton
The Curtiss P-6 Hawk was an American single-engine biplane fighter introduced into service in the late 1920s with the United States Army Air Corps and operated until the late 1930s prior to the outbreak of World War II.
A fast and highly maneuverable aircraft for its time, the XP-6 prototype took 2nd place in the 1927 U.S. National Air Races, and the XP-6A with wing surface radiators took first place, at 201 mph (323 km/h). The P-6 was flown in a variety of paint schemes depending on the squadron, the most famous being the "Snow Owl" markings of the 17th Pursuit Squadron based at Selfridge Field near Detroit, Michigan.
The P-6Es served between 1932 and 1937 with the 1st Pursuit Group (17th and 94th PS) at Selfridge, and with the 8th Pursuit Group (33rd PS) at Langley Field, Virginia. Numerous accidents claimed at least 27 of the 46 aircraft delivered. As the P-6Es became obsolete, instead of receiving depot overhauls, they were allowed to wear out in service and were scrapped or sold. At least one survived into 1942 in United States Army Air Forces service.
In 1932, Capt. Ruben C. Moffat flew a P-6 converted with a supercharged Conqueror engine on a record-breaking flight. He flew from Dayton, Ohio to Washington, D.C. at a speed of approximately 266 mph, at an altitude of 25,000 ft.
Brigadier General Ernest K. Waburton was born at Norwood, Mass, in 1904. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor of science degree in 1926 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Service Reserve on June 8, 1926. He won his Junior Air Pilot wings at Brooks Field in March 1927 and his Air Pilot wings at Kelly Field in 1928. In February 1929 he received his regular commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Corps. In 1931 he entered the Air Corps Engineering School at Wright Field, (forerunner of the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology) and upon graduation a year later joined the 94th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge. He flew the air mail on the "mountain run" between Newark and Cleveland, during the period the Army took over this service, and later became chief of the Air Materiel Command's Flight Test Division at Wright Field, Ohio. During this latter period he flew more than 2,500 hours as an experimental test pilot and tested some 250 different types of aircraft. He also flight tested numerous English, Japanese and German aircraft during World War II. In September 1944 he became deputy chief of staff for Plans of the Far East Air Service Command and the following December he assumed command of the 46th Air Service Group. It was during this period that he commanded the troops that made the first landing in Japan to prepare for the arrival of General Douglas MacArthur. He was serving as vice commander of the 9th Air Force under TAC in 1952, when he went to Korea as deputy chief of staff, Operations, for Fifth Air Force. Later he became deputy commander of Fifth Air Force with the added duty of commanding general of the Taegu Area Command. In June 1957 he took command of the Air Force Operational Test Center under the Air Proving Ground Command and in December of the same year became deputy commander for Development and Test of the Air Proving Ground Center, following the merger of the Air Proving Ground Command and the Air Force Armament Center.
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