Shark Sighting by John Shaw
- Overall size: 37.5 "x 23"
- Image size: 32"x 16"
Personally signed by at least 11 original Flying Tigers, this scene depicts "Tex" Hill and crew bore-sighting the guns of an AVG Tomahawk, preparing for battle in the Asian skies during WWII.
The American Volunteer Group prepares for business out on the firing range in China, 1942. In this scene, AVG ace “Tex” Hill looks over the shoulder of armorer Chuck Baisden as the engine is run up and the wing guns are test-fired on one of the Flying Tigers’ P-40s. Bore-sighting the guns of a Tomahawk in these primitive conditions required leveling the plane, often on the tailgate of a flatbed truck, and adjusting the fire of all guns to converge at a predetermined distance. The expertise and ingenuity of the AVG armorers, crew chiefs and maintenance personnel meant the difference between life and death for pilots who daily confronted the enemy, which ultimately earned the Flying Tigers worldwide fame.
The painting Shark Sighting was completed in 2007. One interesting detail, which fans of the AVG can appreciate, is that the artist wanted to include elements to honor all 3 squadrons, while maintaining historic accuracy (all 3 never flew together at once following training period in Burma). Representing the 3rd “Hell’s Angels” squadron are: Armorer Chuck Baisden (in cockpit) and crew chief Leo Schramm (on tail), arming Tomahawk # 68, flown by the AVG’s first ace, Duke Hedman. Representing the 2nd “Panda Bears” squadron is one of the Tigers’ greatest and well-loved aces, David Lee “Tex” Hill, who did indeed fly various 3rd squadron planes on occasion. Those with sharp eyes will notice near the front wheels, a green apple and dark snake winding its way through the grass, which symbolizes the AVG’s 1st Squadron, the “Adam & Eves”, who displayed the apple & snake insignia on the fuselages of their aircraft.