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This aircraft page is in two sections:
World War II aircraft
Nickname Airacobra
Type Fighter/Attacker
Country of origin United States
Manufacturer Bell
Crew Single-seat
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The P-39D in World War II[edit]


In 1937, the United States Army Air Corps issued a specification for a new fighter via Circular Proposal X-608. It was a request for a high-altitude interceptor aircraft having "the tactical mission of interception and attack of hostile aircraft at high altitude". Specifications called for a maximum airspeed of at least 360 miles per hour (580 km/h) at altitude, and a climb to 20,000 ft (6100m) within 6 minutes; the toughest set of specifications USAAC had presented to that date. Other competing designs included the Curtiss P-40, an outgrowth of a previous design, and the Lockheed P-38, which utilized a complex twin-engine twin boom configuration. Although Bell's limited fighter design work had previously resulted in the unusual Bell YFM-1 Airacuda, the Model 12 proposal adopted an equally original configuration with an Allison V-12 engine mounted in the middle of the fuselage, just behind the cockpit, and a propeller driven by a shaft passing beneath the pilot's feet under the cockpit floor.

The main purpose of this configuration was to free up space for the heavy main armament, a 37 mm Oldsmobile T9 cannon firing through the center of the propeller hub for optimum accuracy and stability when firing. In fact, the entire design was made to accommodate this gun in the aircraft. This happened because H.M. Poyer, designer for project leader Robert Woods, was impressed by the power of this weapon and he pressed for its incorporation though the original concept had been a 20-25 mm cannon mounted in a conventional manner in the nose. This was unusual, because fighters had previously been designed around an engine, not a weapon system. Although devastating when it worked, the T9 had very limited ammunition, a low rate of fire, and was prone to jamming.

A secondary benefit of the mid-engine arrangement was to create a smooth and streamlined nose profile. The weight distribution necessitated a tricycle undercarriage, a first among American fighters, concurrent with the Lockheed XP-38. Entry to the cockpit was through side doors (mounted on both sides of the cockpit) rather than a sliding canopy. Its unusual engine location and the long driveshaft caused some pilot concern at first, but experience showed this was no more of a hazard in a crash landing than with an engine located forward of the cockpit. There were no problems with propshaft failure.
As originally designed, the XP-39 had a turbocharger with a scoop on the left side of the fuselage[7]; both were deleted for production. The production P-39 retained a single-stage, single-speed supercharger with a critical altitude (above which performance declined) of about 12,000 ft.[9]
The XP-39 made her maiden flight on 6 April 1938[10] at Wright Field, Ohio, achieving 390 mph at 20,000 ft. (630 km/h at 6,100 m), reaching this altitude in only five minutes.[11] The Army ordered twelve YP-39s (with only a single-stage, single-speed supercharger) for service evaluation[10] and one YP-39A. After these trials were complete, which resulted in detail changes including deletion of the external radiator,[10][12] and on advice from NACA,[10] the prototype was modified as the XP-39B; after demonstrating a performance improvement,[10] the 13 YP-39s were completed to this standard, adding two .30 cal. (7.62 mm) MG to the two existing .50 cals.[10] Lacking armor or self-sealing fuel tanks, the prototype was 900 kg lighter than the production fighters.[13]

Unit Deployment[edit]

External Links[edit]

  • Historical documents

Flying qualities of the P-39D-1

Aces High II aircraft
P-39D Airacobra
P-39D Airacobra
Variant of P-39 Airacobra
Type Fighter/Attacker
Aces High II loadout options
Package 1 1x 37mm cannon, 30 rounds
2x .50cal MG, 200 rpg
4x .30cal MG, 1000 rpg
Package 2 1x 20mm cannon, 60 rounds
2x .50cal MG, 200 rpg
4x .30cal MG, 1000 rpg
Options 1x 500lb bomb,
or 1x 75 gallon drop tank
Aces High II Main Arenas
Earliest MA Early War
Typical perk cost 0 (Late War)
ENY value 30 (Late War)
Available on carrier no
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The P-39D in Aces High II[edit]

Engine Power[edit]

Maximum speed: 376 mph; (605 km/h; Redline dive speed=525 mph.)
Range: 1,098 miles (1,770 km)
Service ceiling 35,000 ft (10,700 m)
Rate of climb: 3,750 ft/min (19 m/s; 15,000'/ 4.5 min at 160 mph (260 km/h).)
Wing loading: 34.6 lb/ft² (169 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.16 hp/lb (0.27 kW/kg)

Aces High II Performance Charts[edit]

P-39D speed chart P-39D climb chart

In Game Test Data
Turn performance
Clean w/25% fuel at sea level
Sustained turn radius 630 ft.
Sustained turn rate 18 dps
Corner Velocity 224 mph
Turn rate at CV 33.2 dps
Stall speed 92 mph
Full flaps w/25% fuel at sea level
Sustained turn radius 555.5 ft
Sustained turn rate 15.4 dps
Stall speed 81 mph
Acceleration times
From 150 mph to 200 mph 13.8 sec
From 150 mph to 250 mph 36.6 sec
From 200 mph to 250 mph 22.8 sec
From 150 mph to 300 mph 114.8 sec
From 300 mph to 350 mph N.A.
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You have 2x .30cal MG's in each wing with 1000rpg and 2x .50 cal MG's in the nose with 200rpg as standard. You have the option to take either a 37mm spinner mounted cannon carrying 30 rounds or a 20mm cannon carrying 60rpg. In AH, the firepower with the 20mm cannon is equivelant to the 6x .50 cal MG's standard to much of the U.S. plane set. The 20mm is most commonly carried as it offers supperior balistics over the 37mm cannon, and is much easier to use.

You can carry a 500lb bomb or a 75gal drop tank on a center mounted hardpoint.


Fighting in the P-39D[edit]

Fighting against the P-39D[edit]

External Links[edit]

Soda's Aircraft Evaluations