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Bell XFL-1 Airabonita

The Bell XFL-1 Airabonita was a prototype fighter aircraft developed by Bell Aircraft Corporation in the 1930s.

It was intended to be a high-performance aircraft capable of carrying a heavy armament.

The Airabonita was a single-engine, single-seat aircraft with a semi-monocoque fuselage and retractable landing gear.

It was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1830-64 radial engine, which provided 1,200 horsepower.

The aircraft was armed with four .50 calibre machine guns mounted in the wings and two 20mm cannon mounted in the nose.

It also had provisions for carrying bombs or a torpedo.

The Airabonita made its first flight in May 1940, but it was not successful in testing.

The aircraft had stability issues and was difficult to handle, leading to several accidents.

In addition, the performance was not as good as expected, and it was outclassed by other contemporary fighters.

The Airabonita was eventually cancelled, and only one prototype was built.

However, the knowledge gained from the Airabonita was used to develop the highly successful Bell P-39 Airacobra, which used a similar engine and armament arrangement.

Full Specifications




28 ft 8 in (8.74 m)


35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)


12 ft 1 in (3.68 m)

Wing area

203 sq ft (18.9 m2)

Empty weight

5,562 lb (2,520 kg)

Gross weight

8,138 lb (3,690 kg)

Max take-off weight

8,836 lb (4,006 kg)


1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-64 Twin Wasp radial engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW)


Maximum speed

365 mph (587 km/h, 317 kn)

Cruise speed

285 mph (459 km/h, 248 kn)


800 mi (1,300 km, 700 nmi)

Service ceiling

32,000 ft (9,800 m)

Rate of climb

2,940 ft/min (14.9 m/s)

Wing loading

40.1 lb/sq ft (196 kg/m2)


0.15 hp/lb (0.24 kW/kg)



4 x .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine guns and 2 x 20mm cannon


Up to 1,000 lb (454 kg) or 1 x torpedo

Note that these specifications are for the prototype version of the aircraft and may not reflect any changes that may have been made during testing or development.












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