P-63 Kingcobra: post-WWII service

A successor to the P-39 Airacobra, the Bell P-63 Kingcobra never saw combat in American colors but was heavily exported via Lend-Lease during WWII, and was used on three continents after the conflict.

The prototype P-63 first flew on 7 December 1942, the one-year anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. The single-seat P-63 was 33′ long with a 38′ wingspan. It was powered by an Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engine with a two-stage turbocharger. The ceiling was 43,000′ and the average combat radius was 450 NM.

Other than being larger and more sleek than the P-39, the P-63 shared it’s general shape. Improvements were the restoration of the turbocharger which had been deleted from the Airacobra, new laminar flow wings, a new tail for better stability, and a high-performance A64 11’7″ 4-bladed steel propeller. Except for the rudder, all of the P-39’s fabric surfaces were replaced by metal on the P-63.

Read the rest here: P-63 Kingcobra: post-WWII service

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