Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Gromit801, Nov 13, 2011.
Thank You for the link to an interesting video.
Thanks, this is a great link to a much maligned fighter/pursuit craft of the day.
One of Gen.Chuck Yaeger's favorite airplanes.
When the 348th FG arrived in New Guinea my uncle met a P-39 pilot who said he really liked the aircraft. He said the cannon was a very effective weapon system when it worked, the only problem was it didn't work that often. The first few rounds did fine but it almost always jammed.
The Rooskies sure loved it.
Thanks for posting! I enjoyed that movie, and learned a lot.
One of the things I learned was that the rate of fire of the nose cannon was much higher in real life than in any of the games I've played. Perhaps it was the 20mm version in the film, but it looked too slow and the damage too heavy for that.
According to an interview I read some 20 years ago w/ Yeager he disliked the P39. And, it seems just about any Allied fighter other than the P51.
This is a wonderful video, about a bird that many people seem to have much misunderstanding about, if they think about it at all.
That said, I really enjoy hearing the sound of an Allison, especially down low to the deck at high speed. I think the Allison sounds a lot beefier than the Merlin, which has a sweet sound of its own.
But as to engine sounds, nothing beats an Argus for really growling(due in part to the fact that air to the carbuettor has to pass through the crankcase, meaning that carb heat is always on).
Next time I see Chuck, I remind him of what he wrote in his first book.
This was an airplane that should have had its production ended in mid 1943 in order to build others. Wasted production any way you look at it.
Nice high quality video...Weird seeing it land on tricycle. Can't recall ever seeing any ww2 single prop fighter land like that...Great seeing cannon rate of fire and it tearing up the water... Recall when the air force asked about it's higher altitude performance the manufacturer assured them it didn't need a supercharger- if I recall correctly.
I believe it was originally designed with a turbo. But the USAAC decided otherwise and ordered it deleted.
Many other persons would disagree with that idea. I think the Soviet pilots would disagree with that judgment, if not for the Bell Airacobra deliveries, many Soviet pilots may NOT have been able to become multiple aces. And a number of Bell employees would disagree as well, their expertise in "mid-engine" aircraft made the first American jet possible as a stop-gap test bed. If not for the P-39 and later P-63 experience the Bell company may not have contributed as much to victory as it did.
Over half of all the Airacobras produced went to the Soviet Union, and they were the most numerous of the foreign fighters in the Soviet air force inventory. A total of 4924 P-39s were delivered to the Soviet Union between December 1941 and February 1945, of which 4758 actually reached their destinations.
Soviet pilots had first seen the Airacobra in Great Britain, when a group of pilots was sent to No. 601 Squadron at RAF Duxford for training. The British had found the Airacobra unsuitable for their own use and were more than happy to turn over their Airacobras to the Soviets, and some 212 of the 675 Airacobra Is ordered by the RAF were diverted to the USSR. The Airacobras first entered service with the Soviet Air Force in May of 1942.
It is in Soviet service that the Airacobra was used to its best effect. Soviet Air Force military doctrine was that its primary mission was to support the ground operations of the Soviet Army, and the P-39 was a natural for this role since it had an excellent low altitude performance and was heavily armed. Contrary to many published reports, the Soviet Airacobra was not primarily used as a ground-attack aircraft and tank buster, although it is certainly true that it often strafed targets of opportunity. It was actually primarily used as a low-altitude escort fighter for ground attack aircraft such as the Il-2 and later the Il-10.
The Airacobra was quite popular with its Russian pilots, who appreciated its heavy armament, its excellent low-altitude performance, and its ability to absorb an incredible amount of battle damage. When operating at low altitudes, the Airacobra was often able to hold its own against top-of-the-line German fighters. Some Soviet pilots felt that the P-39 outclassed even the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke Wulf FW 190 at altitudes below 10,000 feet. Some of the users of the type were Guard (ie. elite) Fighter Regiments 16 GIAP, 19 GIAP, 21 GIAP, 72 GIAP, 100 GIAP, 213 GIAP (previously 508 IAP) and Fighter Regiments 196 IAP, 255 IAP, 508 IAP (later 213 GIAP).
Several Soviet Airacobra aces are known. Lieutenant Colonel of the Guards Alexander I. Pokryshin, a Soviet ace with 59 kills to his credit, scored 48 of these in a P-39. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Roosevelt. There are eight other P-39 pilots with at least 20 kills. Among top Airacobra aces were Grigorii A Rechkalov (44 kills) , Nikolai D Gulayev (36 kills), Ivan I Babak, Aleksandr F Klubov, Andrei I Trud, and the brothers Boris B Glinka and Dmitrii B Glinka.
Airacobras in the Soviet Union
And let us not forget the Airacobra’s big brother, the Kingcobra. Nearly 3,000 of which were delivered to the USSR between 1943-45. They received the bulk of this model, and it was no slouch under 25,000 feet, which was where it was needed on the "Eastern Front".
Specification of P-63A-10:
Engine: One Allison V-1710-93 twelve-cylinder Vee liquid cooled engine with a single-stage supercharger and auxiliary hydraulic turbosupercharger, rated at 1325 hp at sea level and 1150 hp at 22,400 feet. Performance: Maximum speed was 361 mph at 5000 feet, 392 mph at 15,000 feet, and 410 mph at 25,000 feet. An altitude of 25,000 feet could be reached in 7.3 minutes. Service ceiling was 43,000 feet. Ferry range was 2575 miles. Weights were 6375 pounds empty, 8800 pounds loaded, and 10,500 pounds maximum takeoff. Dimensions: Wingspan 38 feet 4 inches, length 32 feet 8 inches, height 12 feet 7 inches, and wing area 248 square feet. Armament One 37-mm M10 cannon with 58 rounds firing through the propeller hub, two 0.50-inch machine guns in the nose with 200 rpg, and one 0.50-inch machine gun in each of two underwing gondolas with 900 rpg. A centerline underfuselage rack could carry a 75-US gallon auxiliary fuel tank or a 500-lb bomb.
Bell P-63 Kingcobra
USAAC deleted the turbo- why on earth would they- to smooth production or cost? Maybe they felt it would never have to go above 18,000 ft?
The info available to me says the first Airacobra 1 models were armed with a 37mm and only 15 rounds. The 37mm was replaced with a 20mm and 60 rounds....Oops. BD1 was referring to the P63. Originally 30 -37mm rounds later enlarged to 58 rounds.
It appears that the turbo-supercharger was deleted because of the lack of these units for application for export, which is the same reason the unit wasn't used on the P-38 Lightnings sent to GB. They called them the "castrated" Lightnings. It was lack of the production itself in the high-speed turbo-vanes which limited their use for export. At least that is how I see it. We (America) hoarded those precious turbo-supercharger units for our own USAAC (F) aircraft.
Interesting. Looked this up from Allied Fighters Of WW2 -Bill Gunston:
" In March 1940 Britain ordered 143 of the D models, with the 37mm being replaced by a 20mm Hispano and greater ammo capacity. The State Department prohibited the export of the F2 Allison engine, and RAF aircraft called the Lightning 1 had early C15 engines without turbochargers, both having right-hand rotation. The result was poor, and the RAF rejected these machines, which were later brought up to US standard.".
The facilities and resources needed to build the P39 (and P40 for that matter) should have been converted to build P47's and P38's.
Any way you look at it, the P47 was far better as a ground attack fighter-bomber than the P39.
I will not argue that point with you, but in a rather cold-blooded geo-political sense NOT supplying the USSR with our best fighters was the wise course. We didn't want to have to fight them later, which proved to be the case in Korea where even the P-39 was put into use. The 39 and 40 were useful for the V-VS, but we (America) also didn't supply them with four engine bombers, and Britain sent many more Hurries than Spits. America also sent very few of our "front-line" aircraft. Just my opinion of course, but our alliance with the Soviets was one with some internal tension no matter what was said in public.