First Flight of the P-64

Today marks the first flight of the North American P-64. While this plane is an upgraded version of the NA-50 which went to the Peruvian Air Force. The P-64 was originally designated the NA-68 which was supposed to go to the Royal Thai Air Force but didn’t ship out at the last minute. Today only two examples are known to survive this one, this one belonging to the EAA Museum and was flown for the first time in three years at EAA AirVenture last July.

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The North American P-64

This is a really cool aircraft that I have only had the chance of seeing once at the Wings over Gillespie Airshow a number of years ago. The North American P-64 was an export fighter designed off of the NA-50 which was a single seat fighter for export. The P-64 was the United States designation for the NA-68 the improved version of the NA-50. The NA-50 was designed from the NA-16/BT-9 both were used in the development of some of the best single seat aircraft after 1935, including the T-6 Texan.

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The NA-50 Torito was designed for the Peruvian Air Force based off of the NA-44. It had a 840hp Wright R-1820-G3 engine with a top speed of 295mph at 9,500ft. It was armed with two .30 M1919 Browning machine guns. NA-50 first flew in May of 1939 and the NA-68, which had modified landing gear, new outer wings, heavier armament, and redesigned tail surfaces, first flew in 1940. Seven NA-50’s arrived in Peru in 1939 and were retired in 1950. The Six NA-68’s were ordered by the Royal Thai Air Force but never made it there after their export clearance was revoked. Only one known example of a NA-50 is known to exist outside a museum in Peru and one P-64 of the original six exists now at the EAA AirVenture Museum. This particular plane is a converted Harvard Mk IV. While not an original it is the only flying example that we get to enjoy today.

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