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World War II

Bell 26F Airacobra (P-39N)

Unique to the P-39 is the tricycle type nose gear and mid-engine configuration allowing for 37 mm canon in the nose, requiring no prop synchronizing. Car style doors are also unusual and since the pilot could not open them against the airstream, they were designed to be jettisoned.

Less than three flight worthy P-39s are known to exist today.

Only the P-39 and P-40 first line fighters were available to the AAF at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The P-39 was of great service in the destruction of ground targets in many of the theaters of WWII. Tanks were poorly protected from an attack from above making them a favorite victim of the P-39.

Total production numbered 9,558, of this number more than half were supplied to Russia through the Lend-Lease program.

Service History

Delivered: December 7, 1942

December 21, 1942 - Delivered to RAF Shipped directly to England from Brooklyn, NY.

MFG: Bell

First Produced: 1941

Powerplant: Allison V1710-85

Horsepower: 1200

Prop: Aero Products

Service Ceiling: 36,000 ft.

Cruise: 200 mph

Top Speed: 386 mph

Range: 1,475 miles

Empty Weight: 5,659 lbs

Gross Weight: 7,430 lbs

Wing Span: 34’

Wing Area: 213 sq. ft.

Length: 30’2”

Height: 11’10”

Armament: (1) 37 mm hub

canon, (2) .50 cal machine

guns through prop, (4) .30

cal machine gun, (1) 500 lb.


Number Built: 9,558 total

2,095 N models

This P-39 was recovered from an abandoned landing strip in Tadji, New Guinea.  The nine year restoration of this aircraft was completed March 2002.