The World War II fighter plane belonging to Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has been found after nearly 70 years of it’s crash landing in June 1942.
On June 28, 24-year-old Flt Sgt Dennis Copping and another airman from RAF’s 260 Squadron had been told to fly two damaged Kittyhawk P-40 planes from one British airbase in northern Egypt to another for repairs, reported the Metro UK. During the short flight, he went off course and was never seen again.
According to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, there were 13,737 Curtis P-40’s built between 1939 and 1944. The one found in the Sahara was a P-40E and had six .50 caliber machine guns mounted on the wings, but were seized by the Egyptian military for safety. The World War II plane’s cockpit instruments were still intact.
Andy Saunders, a military aviation historian said, “The aviation historical world is hugely excited about this discovery. This plane has been lying in the same spot where it crashed 70 years ago. It hasn’t been hidden or buried in the sand, it has just sat there. It is a quite incredible time capsule, the aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun’s Tomb. It is hundreds of miles from anywhere and there is no reason why anyone would go there.”
He also speculates that Flt Sgt Dennis Copping survived the plane crash because a parachute was found near the Kittyhawk fighter jet. “My guess is the poor bloke used it to shelter from the sun. If he died at the side of the plane his remains would have been found. Once he had crashed there, nobody was going to come and get him. It is more likely he tried to walk out of the desert but ended up walking to his death. It is too hideous to contemplate,” Saunders told the Daily Mail.
The World War II Kittyhawk P-40 was discovered by chance by Polish oil company worker Jakub Perka who was on an expedition with his team exploring the Sahara Desert in Egypt in March.