When you think of the Flying Tigers, you think of those shark-mouthed P-40s duking it out with squadrons of swarming Japanese Zero fighters, right?
One little problem: all Zero aircraft had been withdrawn from China by the time the American Volunteer Group (AVG) took to the skies in late 1941. It didn’t keep AVG pilots from reporting that they encountered, and shot down, tons of Zeroes.
In fact, they seemed a little obsessed with the epic Japanese naval fighter. Most likely the American flyers were encountering Nakajima Ki-43 “Oscar” fighters and calling them, generically, “Zeroes.”
You can see a P-40, a Zero and a Grumman Hellcat take to the skies at the Flying Heritage Collection’s next Free Fly Day, July 12 at Paine Field. Also, come in to the FHC’s hangars and check out the last surviving Type I Oscar left in the world.