Found – WWII P-40 Fighter Lost in Egypt in 1942

Found – WWII P-40 Fighter Lost in Egypt in 1942

It is always fun when a treasure of the past is discovered, and even better when that treasure is an old P-40 warbird.The story goes back to June 1942 in North Africa when British forces where fighting off the Nazioffensives of Erwin Rommel.  On June 28, 1942, Flight Sgt. Dennis Copping of the British Royal Air Force’s 260 Squadron, was under orders to fly a damaged Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk from one airbase to another for repair.  Apparently, he lost his way and dissappeared in the Egyptian Sahara Desert and was never heard from again.

For nearly 70 years, this was the end of the story of Flt. Sgt. Copping and his P-40 Kittyhawk.  However, Jakub Perka, a worker from a Polish oil company, recently happened upon an airplane sitting in the Egyptian desert giving this old story new life.  The plane Perka discovered was that of Dennis Copping.

The dry desert has preserved this aircraft well through the decades.  From the photos taken, it appears the plane has been untouched since its crash.  Some interesting things noticable in the photos taken:

  • Most of the flight instruments are intact
  • The P-40’2 identification tags are intact and legible
  • The machine guns and ammunition were intact (later seized by the Egyptian military for safety)
  • The tailwheel is still intact
  • There is strong evidence that Copping survived the crash
  • There appears to be a makeshift campsite next to the plane using a parachute as a shelter
  • The radio and batteries were removed from the airplane
  • Copping’s remains are not with the aircraft
It is believed likely that Copping survived the crash only to perish in the desert while trying to walk back to civilization.  Even today, the nearest town is nearly 200 miles away from the crash site.  A search will be mounted for Copping’s remains, but it is believed very unlikely that anything will be found.
Efforts are underway by the RAF Museum to have the plane returned to England.  It will be fascinating to see if Egypt will allow this given that England has a few artifacts of ancient Egypt that they are unwilling to return – the Rosetta Stone.  Wingster does hope that this aircraft will be displayed in a museum somewhere.  When it is, wherever it is, we will definitely be paying this great American made plane a visit.





  1. Wow, another treasure was found in the Egyptian desert. Amazing find.