The Airacobra saw combat throughout the world, particularly in the Southwest Pacific, Mediterranean and Soviet theaters. Because its engine was equipped with only a single-stage, single-speed supercharger, the P-39 performed poorly above 17,000 feet (5,200 m) altitude. In both western Europe and the Pacific, the Airacobra found itself outclassed as an interceptor and the type was gradually relegated to other duties. It often was used at lower altitudes for such missions as ground strafing
the P-39 was the first aircraft flown into combat by the 99th "Tuskegee Airmen"
They sailed across the Atlantic and Mediterranean, to Taranto and Naples, Italy. From aerodromes in Naples and Montecorvino, the Group flew Bell P-39 Airacobra fighters with the 12th U. S. Army Air Force, performing combat patrol over the Tyrennean Sea and strafing attacks in and around Cassino and Anzio, against the German army, until late Spring.
The gearbox was provided with its own lubrication system, separate from the engine; in later versions of the Airacobra the gearbox was provided with some armor protection.
Because the pilot was above the extension shaft, he was placed higher in the fuselage than in most contemporary fighters, which, in turn gave the pilot a good field of view ( but it exposed him a little more)
P-39D (Model 15), which also introduced self-sealing tanks and shackles (and piping) for a 500 lb (227 kg) bomb or drop tank
Soon after entering service, pilots began to report that “during flights of the P-39 in certain maneuvers, it tumbled end over end.” Most of these events happened after the aircraft was stalled in a nose high attitude with considerable power applied. Concerned, Bell initiated a test program. Bell pilots made 86 separate efforts to reproduce the reported tumbling characteristics. In no case were they able to tumble the aircraft. In his autobiography veteran test and airshow pilot R.A. “Bob” Hoover provides an account of tumbling a P-39. He goes on to say that in hindsight, he was actually performing a Lomcovak, a now-common airshow maneuver, which he was also able to do in a Curtiss P-40. [N 6] An informal study of the P-39’s spinning characteristics was conducted in the NASA Langley Research Center 20-foot Free-Spinning Tunnel during the 1970s. A study of old reports showed that during earlier spin testing in the facility, the aircraft had never tumbled. However, it was noted that all testing had been done with a simulated full ammunition load
The weight distribution of the P-39 was supposedly the reason for its tendency to enter a dangerous flat spin, a characteristic Soviet test pilots were able to demonstrate to the skeptical manufacturer who had been unable to reproduce the effect. After extensive tests, it was determined the spin could only be induced if the aircraft was improperly loaded, with no ammunition in the front compartment. The flight manual noted a need to ballast the front ammunition compartment with the appropriate weight of shell casings to achieve a reasonable center of gravity. High-speed controls were light, consequently high-speed turns and pull-outs were possible. The P-39 had to be held in a dive since it tended to level out, reminiscent of the Spitfire. The recommended never-exceed dive speed limit (Vne) was 475 mph
Bell-9-39 from the United States requisitioned 200 aircraft of the order destined for the UK, adopting them as P-400s (named for advertised top speed of 400 mph (644 km/h)). After Pearl Harbor, the P-400 was deployed to training units, but some saw combat in the Southwest Pacific including with the Cactus Air Force in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Though outclassed by Japanese fighter aircraft, it performed well in strafing and bombing runs, often proving deadly in ground attacks on Japanese forces trying to retake Henderson Field. Guns salvaged from P-39s were sometimes fitted to Navy PT boats to increase firepower
From September to November 1942 pilots of the 57th Fighter Squadron flew P-39s and P-38s from an airfield built on land bulldozed into Kuluk Bay on the barren island of Adak in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. They attacked the Japanese forces that had invaded Attu and Kiska islands in the Aleutians in June 1942
The most successful and numerous use of the P-39 was by the Red Air Force (Военно-воздушные силы, Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily, VVS). They received the considerably improved N and Q models via the Alaska-Siberia ferry route
Also little know factoid the P-39 was used as a gunnery trainer not towing the flag but as the actual target hence the name on some of PING BONG.
the above skin found currently in the flight shop in the mods section,with others added later today chrome snow and a Nave skin, Also an update the the Hells Bells shown above tot the units pacific cammo
ref material from multipliable web sites found on line.
Edited by FreeFOXMIKE, 13 January 2017 - 11:26 AM.