P-63 Kingcobra

Bell Kingcobra, in the colors of a “pinball” manned target aircraft, on display at the NMUSAF in July of 2017. This aircraft has since been put into storage.

Bell P-63 Kingcobra in "Pinball" manned target colors

P-63 close up

Bell’s P-63 Kingcobra, although using the same general configuration and basic engine as the company’s P-39 Airacobra, was a larger, more powerful and much refined aircraft. Never used in frontline combat by the USAAF, the Kingcobra was to see much action with the Soviets, who kept the type in service long enough for it to be be given the NATO codename “Fred”. The museum’s red-painted aircraft represents one of the “Pinball” aircraft used to train aerial gunners, being armored to resist strikes by special frangible ammunition.

Recommended Reading:

Photo: P-63 NX52113 Kismet    Air Classics August 1980 p.740-75

Roger Huntington   Thompson Trophy Racers: The Pilots and Planes of America’s Air Racing Glory Days 1929-49   Includes several shots of P-63C Tucker Special NX62995 with clipped wings.

Review: “American Aircraft Development of the Second World War: Research Experimentation and Modification 1939-1945” Loaded with photos of unusual and exotic US test aircraft of WWII. Includes a photo of a P-63A fitted with a butterfly tail.

Photo: side view of P-63 N52113 Air Classics November 1981 p.58

Photo: P-63C NL62822 in flight Air Classics January 1983 p.52



Dora Wings 48004 1:48 P63E King Cobra



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