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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Move along, no loitering allowed

a-4_va-45det1_cvs-11_intercept_moss_nan8-73-over-med

A U.S. Navy Douglas A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 152012) of Attack Squadron 45 (VA-45) Det.1 Blackbirds intercepting a Soviet Tupolev Tu-126 Moss AEW aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea in 1973. VA-45 Det.1 was assigned to Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group 56 (CVSG-56) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CVS-11) for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea from 24 November 1972 to 4 May 1973.