It soon became clear a larger and more powerful aircraft was needed for a close support fighter bomber. Experimental XP- 63’s used the P-39 fuselage and added aerodynamic improvements.

The P-63 King Cobra was produced and supplied in great numbers to the USSR and France. Outperformed at high altitude by the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt, the P-63 King Cobra was relegated to training duty by the AAF.

Over 300 P-63s were used by the AAF as manned targets. All armament was removed and duralumin alloy was added to the fuselage and tail for protection. Bulletproof glass, steel plate  and a special hollow blade prop allowed the plane to withstand  impact from the training programs infrangible bullets.

The P-63 seen here “Fatal Fang” was acquired from the Bob Bean Collection in 1978 and restored.

DISPLAY STATUS COUNTRY OF ORIGIN CURRENT LOCATION
 Own  United States Legends Hangar
PURPOSE & TYPE MATERIALS ERA & DATE RANGE
 Fighter, Bomber Steel  World War II
1939 – 1945
PRODUCTION &
ACQUISITION
SPECIFICATIONS SERVICE HISTORY
MFG: Bell
First Produced: 1943
Number Built: 3.300 total; 1,003 A Models
Armament: (1) 37mm hub canon, (2) .50 caliber machine guns through prop, (1) .50 caliber machine gun starboard wing, (1) 500 lbs bomb

The P-63 seen here “Fatal Fang” was acquired from the Bob Bean Collection in 1978 and restored.

Wingspan: 38’4”
Wing Area: 248 sq ft
Length: 32’8”
Height: 12’7”
Empty Weight: 6,800 lbs
Gross Weight: 10,700 lbs
Powerplant: Allison V1710-117 
Thrust:
Cruise Speed: 356 mph
Maximum Speed: 410 mph
Range: 2,000 miles

Delivered: May 8, 1944
May 1944 – Base Unit 4th AAF Portland, OR
June 1944 – 433 Base Unit 4th AAF Chico, CA
August 1944 – 31st Fighter Sqd 4th AAF Palmdale, CA
November 1944 – 421st Base Unit 4th AAF Muroc, CA
July 1945 – 405th Base Unit 4th AAF Paine, WA
Oct 1945 – Ontario, CA disposed as surplus