Collings said the plane was purchased from the English museum for "several million dollars" but wouldn't divulge the sale price or who the sponsor is. He said only a handful of P-40Bs exist, including one owned by Microsoft founder Paul Allen. Curtiss produced nearly 14,000 P-40s at its Buffalo plant from 1939-44. It was a workhorse for American and Allied air forces early in the war, and it was the same plane flown by the famed Flying Tigers, the name given to the American squadron that fought for China against Japan before American entered the war.
The only other Pearl Harbor survivor still flying is a Grumman J2F-4 Duck, a privately owned, float-equipped biplane based in Kenosha, Wis., according to vintage warplane experts. The few other surviving aircraft, such as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Sikorsky JRS-1 amphibious search plane, are no longer airworthy.
"It's pretty important in terms of the rarity of that particular airplane," Jeremy Kinney, a Smithsonian aviation curator, said of the foundation's P-40B and its Pearl Harbor connection. "We don't even have one."