Bell P-63 Kingcobra


1st Flight 1942

Crew: One

Length: 32 ft 8 in (9.96 m)

Wingspan: 38 ft 4 in (11.68 m)

Height: 12 ft 7 in (3.84 m)

Wing area: 248 sq ft (23.0 m2)

Airfoil: root: NACA 66-116; tip: NACA 66-216

Empty weight: 6,800 lb (3,084 kg)

Gross weight: 8,800 lb (3,992 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 10,700 lb (4,853 kg)

Powerplant: 1 × Allison V-1710-117 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, 1,800 hp (1,300 kW)

Propellers: 4-bladed constant-speed propeller


Maximum speed: 410 mph (660 km/h, 360 kn) at 25,000 ft (7,600 m)

Range: 450 mi (720 km, 390 nmi)

Ferry range: 2,200 mi (3,500 km, 1,900 nmi)

Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,000 m)

Rate of climb: 2,500 ft/min (13 m/s)

Wing loading: 35.48 lb/sq ft (173.2 kg/m2)

Power/mass: 0.20 hp/lb (0.33 kW/kg)


Guns: 1 × 37 mm (1.5 in) M4 cannon firing through the propeller hub. For the A-9 version of the aircraft onward, the M4 gun was replaced with the slightly improved M10 37 mm cannon, which used a disintegrating link ammunition belt, increasing the ammo capacity to 58 rounds; the M10 also had a slightly higher rate of fire.

4 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns (two synchronized in the nose, two in the wings)

Bombs: 1,500 lb (680 kg) bomb load on wing and fuselage.




XP-63 Prototypes (two) (company designation was Model 24); USAAF serials (41-19511 and 41-19512).

XP-63A Following the loss of the first two prototypes, an additional test aircraft was procured, USAAF serial 42-78015, originally ordered as a test bed for the proposed Rolls-Royce Merlin-powered P-63B.

P-63A The production model Bell Model 33; 1725 P-63As produced in various sub-marks.

P-63B Proposed Rolls-Royce Merlin-powered P-63B series was cancelled due to lack of availability of Merlin engines.

P-63C Second production series differed from the P-63A by being powered by the uprated Allison V-1710-117 engine with a war emergency rating of 1,500 hp (1,120 kW) at sea level and 1,800 hp (1,340 kW) with water injection. The wingspan was reduced by 10 inches (250 mm). A total production run of 1,227 was completed.

P-63D One aircraft (43-11718) powered by an Allison V-1710-109 (E22) 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) featured a 10 in (25 cm) wingspan increase (to 39 ft 2 in (11.94 m), gross area being increased to 255 sq ft (23.7 m2) and, most noticeably, a rearward-sliding bubble canopy. The series was cancelled in 1945.

P-63E Essentially similar to the P-63D with the exception of a ventral fin extension and the use of a standard “cab”-style cockpit; only 13 built.

P-63F Bell Model 43 variant featured an enlarged vertical tail and Allison V-1710-135; only two (43-11719 and 43-11722) built.

RP-63A/C “Pinball” Target aircraft with five modified from P-63As and 95 modified on production lines; in 1948, surviving RP-63A aircraft were redesignated QF-63A. A further 200 production RP-63C aircraft were modified on the production line. Similarly, the surviving RP-63Cs were redesignated QF-63Cs. Many of the “target” aircraft were actually used as target tugs.

RP-63G “Pinball” “Dedicated” flying targets which included two prototypes (43-11723 and 11724) and 30 production aircraft that incorporated a flush dorsal inlet but, more significantly, lights that would come on when the target was struck with frangible munitions. In 1948, the remaining RP-63Gs were redesignated QF-63Gs.

L-39 Two war surplus P-63Cs modified by Bell under Navy contract for flight testing of low-speed and stall characteristics of high-speed wing designs.

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