The P-39 Airacobra was designed by Bell’s brilliant engineer, Robert Woods. The plane featured a mid-engine design, intended to allow
it to carry a lethal 37mm cannon in the nose. An all-metal, low-wing design, the P-39 was the first fighter to feature tricycle landing gear. The plane debuted in 1939, and proved impressive in tests. Yet the aircraft lacked a large fuel capacity that limited range, and pilots
learned that its performance dropped off markedly at altitudes above 17,000 feet. Despite this, over 9,500 P-39s were built. Almost half were
sent to the USSR, where Soviet pilots, flying low-level attack missions, achieved devastating results. Ace Alexander Pokryshkin flew the plane
exclusively and scored nearly 60 kills. Originally printed by the USAAF and the RAF, this handbook provides a fascinating glimpse inside the cockpit
of this warbird. Originally classified “Restricted”, the manual was de-classified and is here reprinted in book form.
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