Bell P-63 "Kingcobra"
The P-63 is assigned to two WHS Colonels, and is not a Squadron
aircraft, but it was once based at our hangar. It is currently undergoing
|Click on the image above or thumbnails below for larger
|The P-63 "Kingcobra" was the successor to Bell Aircraft's
earlier P-39 "Airacobra", and is similar in overall design. The most
notable design feature of both "Cobras" is the mid-engine layout, with
the Allison V-12 engine located behind the pilot. This leaves room
in the nose for the P-63's impressive 37 mm cannon, which fires through
the propeller hub. Another unique aspect of the design are the side
doors for cockpit access, more commonly found on cars than on fighter/attack
Over 3,000 P-63's were built, beginning in 1943, but most (over 2,400)
went to the Soviet Union. The Soviets made good use of the P-63's
heavy armament, good low-level performance and strong construction by employing
it as a close-support ground attack aircraft, and it proved to be an effective
The CAF "Kingcobra" based at WHS is a P-63F, one of only two ever built.
Compared with the most numerous model, the P-63A, the F-model featured
a more powerful version of the Allison V-12 engine (1,425 HP vs. 1,325
HP) and a larger vertical tail.
One Allison V-1710-93 12-cylinder piston engine rated at 1,325 HP at
(F model - V-1710-117 @ 1,425 HP)
Internal fuel - 100 US gal
External fuel - up to 375 US gal in a combination of flush-mounted
and drop tanks
Wingspan 38 ft 4 in
Length 32 ft 8 in; height 12 ft 6 in
Operational weights : Empty 6,375 lb; maximum take-off 10,500 lb
Maximum level speed 'clean' 356 kt (410 mph) at 25,000 ft; 314 kt (361
mph) at sea level
Maximum range 2,236 nm (2,575 miles) with maximum external fuel; typical
range 391 nm (450 mi) with one 500 lb bomb
Service ceiling 43,000 ft
Fixed : One 37 mm cannon firing through the propeller hub; two cowl-mounted
.50 cal. machine guns firing through the propeller disc; two .50 machine
guns in under-wing pods.
Disposable : up to 1,500 lbs of bombs or rockets carried on one centerline
and two under-wing hardpoints.
Speed is life
Altitude is life insurance