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.

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A-26 Invader doing it’s thing 20+ years after WWII

a-26a_609sos_near_nkp_1969

USAF – Scan from Dana Bell, Air War over Vietnam, Volume IV. Arms and Armour Press, London, Harrisburg (PA), 1984, ISBN 0853686351, p. 62. Cites U.S. Air Force as source.A USAF Douglas/On Mark A-26A Invader of the 609th Special Operations Squadron near Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, sometime between 1967 and 1969. The B-26K 64-17645 (ex A-26C 44-35546) was rebuilt by On Mark as a B-26K, and used by the CIA in the Congo from 1964 to December 1966 with tail code ‘RF645’, later ‘FR-645’. In August 1967, following redesignation as A-26A, it arrived in South-East Asia, and on 10 November 1969 was turned over from the USAF to the South Vietnamese Air Force. In March 1975, it was blown up at Nha Trang to prevent it from falling into North Vietnamese hands.