5 Facts You Didn’t Know About The P-63 Kingcobra

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About The P-63 Kingcobra | World War Wings Videos

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The Bell P-63 Kingcobra was disliked in the West, causing these fighters to be sent in large numbers to the Soviet Union.

It ended up seeing little action during WWII and becoming one of the lesser-known American fighters during this period. 

Here are five interesting facts about the Kingcobra:

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1. It had several issues from the start

The P-63 had several issues from the get-go such as a poor high-altitude performance, center of gravity issues which led to dangerous flat spins, and deformation of the tail under high G-loads. 

2. It kept the Airacobra’s perks 

Since the Kingcobra was a direct development, it kept the Airacobra’s quirks like a tricycle landing gear, a mid-fuselage mounted engine, and the nose-mounted 37 mm cannon.

3. There are several differences between the P-39 and P-63

The Kingcobra had a lengthier wingspan and an overall increase in wing area compared to the Airacobra. It’s also longer and has a reinforced rear fuselage.

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This is one of the simplest ways you can distinguish a P-39 from a P-63.

4. It didn’t quite live up to expectations

Despite all the work put into the fighter, it didn’t quite live up to expectations. It would still be considered inferior to the P-51 Mustang of the B variant.

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When comparing the production versions of both aircraft, it’s quite clear that the P-51B kept a speed advantage over the Kingcobra with 441mph to 400-408 mph, respectively.

5. The Kingcobra eventually became the third American plane sent to the Soviet Union in big numbers

This would be behind the P-39 and the A-20, according to the number of aircraft that reached the Soviet Union.

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While it didn’t have that impact on the war, some sources hint that the Soviets did use the American fighter against Germany, even in a much smaller capacity.

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