CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

1939-1945 / WORLD WAR II ERA

Bell P-63A-7 King Cobra

Single Seat Fighter

Bell P-63A-7 King Cobra

Service History

  • 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

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.

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