As interesting as it is seeing a Curtis P-40 ‘project’ come up for sale (at least, it’s interesting to me), and as amusing as it is that the ‘project’ is basically a data plate and a bunch of scrap metal, I wouldn’t wouldn’t think it needed a thread. But this caught my eye:
Wait. Dan Rowan was a fighter pilot? And his birth name was Dan David? Let me google that.
It goes on to say ‘After his discharge, Rowan returned to California where he teamed up with Dick Martin and started a comedy night-club act.’ Aha! But Rowan & Martin didn’t become an ‘Act’ until the mid-'60s! Except looking up Dick Martin, the Wiki entry says they teamed up in 1952. Seven years after the end of the war, and I assume Rowan was discharged soon after the end; but technically Rowan teamed up with Martin after he was discharged, and they were indeed a team for a long time before I was born. The article doesn’t say when or why Rowan changed his surname. In the ad, there are small pictures from a book that are probably documentation of provenance, but they’re too small for me to read.
So if Wikipedia can be believed (and I haven’t looked for more reliable citations), Dan Rowan really was born Dan David. He did fly a P-40, serial number 42-104949, and that’s the number on the data plate. It looks plausible that this ‘project’ is the comedian’s airplane. There’s only half a fuselage, one wing, new and reproduction parts, parts from other airplanes, most parts suitable for ‘patterns’. If this ship ever flies again, it will be a Ship of Theseus. Someone should paint The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate on it somewhere.
“Rowan was born in Beggs, Okla., July 2, 1922. At 4, he was dancing and singing in a touring carnival with his parents. He was orphaned at 11 and placed in an orphanage in Colorado, where he was eventually adopted.”
You might also be interested to know Ed McMahon of “The Tonight Show” was a USMC artillery spotter pilot in Korea, flying the O-1 Bird Dog, earning six Air Medals, and eventually retiring as a Colonel.
You’ll find that there are several pilots here. Some, like me, struggle to find the correct combination of money, time, and weather to get into the air. Others make their livings as professional pilots. One well-respected member, now, sadly, gone, flew B-26s out of England in WWII. Some members are actively flying in General Aviation, and some have ‘hung up their spurs’ but still love it.