P-39 Airacobra Specs

The P-39 was a unique and often unloved aircraft. While most allied forces in WWII used it only for training purposes, the russians used the Airacobra to great avail on the eastern front in Europe. This is arguably one of the most unconventional aicraft in the allied inventory during the war. This was due to two facts about the P-39. Fist it had a mid-mounted engine with a prop shaft that went between the pilots legs. Second, it had a 37mm cannon mounted in the prop hub. These two facts gave the Airacobra odd handling characteristics and great fire power with a dead on aim.

The odd handling and the lack of a supercharger greatly limited the use of this airplane on the western front during the war. It was mainly relegated to training new pilots. However, of the 9,580 built, over half went to Russia. The Russians loved this aircraft because most of the battles on the Eastern front took place at lower altitudes then in the rest of Europe. The P-39 shows that even unique and often disliked aircraft can still serve a good purpose and serve valiently.

Function:     Fighter
Contractor:     Bell
Power Plant:     1 Allison V-1710 w/ 1200 HP
Length:     30 ft. 2 in.
Height:     12 ft. 5 in.
Max Weight:     7,379 lbs loaded
Max Speed:     376 mph
Range:     1098 miles
Armament:     4 .50 cal. machine guns and 1 37mm cannon
Crew:     1
Deployment Date:     1939