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Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk VH-KTY

The second Kittyhawk to be restored by Pay’s / Vintage Fighter Restorations, VH-KTY resides in the Pay’s collection at Scone

Curtiss P40E Kittyhawk VH-KTY


Curtiss Kittyhawk P-40E VH-KTY was the second of two P-40 aircraft acquired by Col Pay for the Pays’ Warbird Collection. 

Upon the arrival of the P-40 at Scone NSW in 1994, a comprehensive rebuild of the aircraft was commenced with the entire airframe being rebuilt from the ground up. The P-40 had spent many years exposed to the elements and was in need of a very detailed refurbishment which required a long time to complete, including the rebuild of an Allison V-1710-39 liquid-cooled V12 engine.  The first engine runs on the P-40 were undertaken on 13 November 2004 and then on the 6th of December 2004 the aircraft took to the air again in the hands of Col Pay.

The P-40 was finished in the color scheme of a 3 Sqn RAAF P-40E serial ET953 Sqn code CV-V, the aircraft of Robert Henry Maxwell (Bobby) Gibbes, DSO, DFC and Bar, OAM (6 May 1916 – 11 April 2007), as Commanding Officer of No. 3 Squadron, North Africa. Fortunately “Bobby” Gibbes was able to see the aircraft and signed the engine cowling in 2007 shortly before he passed away.

As with Col’s first P-40 he displayed this aircraft quite extensively at RAAF Squadron reunions and airshows including some very memorable displays at RAAF Williamtown and flying days at Temora Aviation Museum. The P40 was always flown with great energy and is very popular with everyone who has seen her fly.

The Curtiss Kittyhawk P-40E remains with the Pays fleet of Warbirds to this day and is a centerpiece in the Warbird collection at Scone maintained by Vintage Fighter Restorations, a division of Pays Air Service.

VH-KTY Allison V1710 under maintenance
VH-KTY Allison V1710 undergoing maintenance.
aircraft nose art
Nose art as it appeared on Bobby Gibbes' P40 in North Africa.


The P-40E was constructed in Buffalo New York USA in 1942 and was originally allocated to the RAF as a Mk. Ia Kittyhawk, ET433. This identity was not taken up and the aircraft was diverted to Australia later in 1942 and allocated to the United States Army Air Corps 68th Pursuit Squadron, Tonga.  On the 27th of October 1942 the P40 was transferred to the RNZAF as NZ3094. It is believed that the aircraft served in RNZAF 15Sqn at Fuamotu, Tonga from 27 October 1942.

In 1948 she was sold to J. Larsen from Rukuhia New Zealand as scrap along with 50 other P40s and remained there in Asplin’s Supplies scrapyard from 1954 until when it was recovered by John Chambers and then Mike Subritzky.  Col Pay purchased the aircraft in 1994 from Mike Subritzky, Auckland-Dairy Flat, New Zealand who had owned the aircraft since 1991.

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