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  1. #1

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    Us air corps roundel

    Hey everyone. I am looking to my fellow warbird historians/enthusiasts to help in identifying what type of aircraft the following relic might have come from. I purchased a roundel a few years back from a well known auction site and finally got around to mounting it for display. It measures roughly 36" across and is painted on fabric. It was trimmed close to the roundel, but you can still see the edges that reveal that it was applied to a silver background. The back side has a short message in black marker that I can tell was written some time ago (as it has faded somewhat), that states simply-'From a WWII fighter plane'.

    The party I purchased it from stated that they had purchased it directly from the family of the pilot. Apparently, the pilot had been killed in the aircraft and the roundel was cut from it and sent back to the family. The original owner, who was the sister of the pilot had it in her possession ever since, but had passed away and the rest of the story was lost as far as a name, type of aircraft, location, etc.

    To me, it has raised more questions than answers. First, I doubt it was a fighter as it's from a fabric covered aircraft. Second, it's the old style AAC roundel with the red ball from pre-Pearl Harbor and therefore unlikely to have actively served during the war. Am I wrong in saying that? Third, what type of aircraft could it have come from having been painted silver? My initial thoughts were maybe an early training aircraft such as a Stearman before they were painted predominantly yellow to avoid collisions or maybe a glider.

    I'd love to know if anyone else might be able to shed some light on this for me.
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  2. #2
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    That insignia style was the standard until May 1942, so it's possible (but not likely) the accident occurred during the war. Some planes might not have changed to the new standard (dropping the red ball) for several months.

    The glider program took a while to get started, I'm thinking that's not too likely.

    My thought was a Fairchild PT-19 trainer...there are photos of it in silver with the pre-war markings. I believe the wings were wood-skinned, but did they apply fabric on top of the wood?



    Beyond that, the Navy used the same markings. Could have been from the bottom of the lower wing of a Grumman F3F or similar ilk.

    [Edit] Looking at the roundel, the rib spacing is fairly close. This does argue for a faster airplane, like a fighter. With the rib stitching, probably not a PT-19.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Last edited by rwanttaja; 11-05-2018 at 03:27 PM.

  3. #3
    cwilliamrose's Avatar
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    The rib spacing should provide a clue.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the replies so far. Ron, I hadn't been thinking Navy at all for some reason, but based on your suggestion of an F3F, I think that could be a distinct possibility and might explain the owner mistaking it for more of a fighter versus a PT or something of that nature. The rib spacing was unfamiliar to me but makes perfect sense now that it has been brought up. I appreciate the inputs!
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  5. #5
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure all of the Curtiss Hawks (prior to the P40) had fabric covered wings & they would have still been being used as trainers & such.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the input Mike. Weren't there quite a few Hawk variants? Are you referring to the early bi-plane Hawks or the monoplane P-36? I think the P-36 was an all metal construction.

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