Bell P-39 Airacobra

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A P-39Q

The P-39 Airacobra was a fighter aircraft made by Bell Aircraft. It first flew in 1939, and was introduced in 1941. While it had good weapons, it was known for being very unstable and could lose control easily. It was fast but not very good above 5000 m (15,000 feet) as it lacked turbocharger.[1] The Soviet Union used it during World War II as a fighter interceptor as most air battles at the Eastern front were fought at low heights. Very near the ground the Airacobra became extremely manoeuevrable and could out-turn any German airplane. The Russians liked the plane, and they often removed the wing guns to make it even more manouevreable. Several Soviet pilots became fighter aces on P-39. The main weapon of P-39, 37 mm cannon, was so powerful that it could destroy almost any airplane on a single hit.

The pilot who has scored most aerial victories has been Grigori Rechkalov from Soviet Air Force. He shot down 57 Germans with Airacobra. His squadronmate Aleksandr Pokryshkin (59 victories of which 47 with Airacobra) was another well known Airacobra ace.

The P-39 was different from a lot of aircraft in World War II. It had "tricycle" landing gear (like a tricycle), doors that opened like a car (pilots would climb out of most fighters of the time). The "Q" version could go 375 miles per hour (600 km/h), had four 13mm machine guns, and one 37mm cannon.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.acepilots.com/planes/p39_airacobra.html

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to P-39 Airacobra at Wikimedia Commons