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Late afternoon walkaround of a Bell P-63 Kingcobra

16 January 2013

Late afternoon walkaround of a Bell P-63 Kingcobra

— photo by Joseph May

Bell P-63 Kingcobra at Lakeland’s Florida Air Museum — photo by Joseph May

This Kingcobra is displayed at the Florida Air Museum and was photographed during a beautiful November afternoon day when it had  been luckily been pulled out of the hangar for an event. An evolution of the P-39 Airacobra during World War II it was much larger and more powerful supercharged engine and with a laminar flow wing — which produced faster roll rates than even the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt. Though not selected for use in the U.S. military it was keenly desired by the Russian Air Force because of its availability, speed, armor and armament of 4 x 0.50 caliber machine guns and 1 x 37mm cannon. Unusual aspects  of the Kingcobra are the car-like doors of the cockpit, centrally positioned engine and cannon which fired through the crankshaft. The P-63 is a stoutly built aircraft that was heavily armed and, though not faster than the P-51 or P-47, provided good service in Russia during World War II where strategic bombing escort was less important than quick interception of Axis tactical bombers or tank destroying ground attack missions — somewhat presaging the primary mission profiles of today’s fighter aircraft.

— photo by Joseph May

The  nose cone  of this P-63 still has the aperture for the  37mm cannon barrel though the two nose mounted machine guns as well as wing mounted machine guns have been faired over — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Left side cockpit entry door, note the air inlet and exhaust  stacks of the  mid-mounted engine — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The Kingcobra’s cockpit appears to give the pilot  a high degree of visibility — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Rear aspects of the P-63 — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Russian red star on the  left wing — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Wing root  and right side door of the P-63 Kingcobra — photo by Joseph May

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