Bell YFM-1 Airacuda


1st Flight 1937


Crew: five (pilot, copilot/navigator, radio operator/gunner, two gunners)

Length: 44 ft 10 in (13.67 m)

Wingspan: 69 ft 10 in (21.29 m)

Height: 13 ft 7 in (4.14 m)

Wing area: 684 sq ft (63.5 m2)

Airfoil: NACA 23018/NACA 23009

Empty weight: 13,376 lb (6,067 kg)

Gross weight: 17,333 lb (7,862 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 21,625 lb (9,809 kg)

Fuel capacity: 400 US gal (1,500 l)

Powerplant: 2 × Allison V-1710-9 liquid-cooled turbo supercharged V-12, 1,090 hp (810 kW) each

Propellers: three-bladed


Maximum speed: 277 mph (446 km/h, 241 kn)

Cruise speed: 244 mph (393 km/h, 212 kn)

Range: 2,600 mi (4,200 km, 2,300 nmi)

Service ceiling: 30,500 ft (9,300 m)

Rate of climb: 1,480 ft/min (7.5 m/s)



2 × 37 mm (1.46 in) M4 cannons (110 rpg)

2 × .30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns in front of nacelles

2 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns (600 rpg) in side blisters

Bombs: 20 × 30 lb (14 kg) fragmentation bombs in wing bays




The prototype, known as the XFM-1, incorporated a tail wheel, side “blister” ports, and a smooth, rounded canopy.

This is the best known, and most produced version.

An updated version called the YFM-1A eliminated the side blisters and added externally mounted radiators and turbo-superchargers.

Produced in 1940, the final version designated YFM-1B, was slightly larger, had slightly less powerful Allison engines and incorporated a tricycle landing gear.

The canopy was redesigned, with a flat forward windshield.

A rearward-facing belly gunner’s position was also added.

The resulting aircraft was roughly the size of a Douglas B-18 Bolo medium bomber.

Three YFM-1Bs were produced in 1939 before production was finally terminated.

XFM-1 – (Model 1) Prototype powered by two 1,150 hp V-1710-13 engines, one (38-351) built.

YFM-1 – (Model 7) Development aircraft powered by two 1,150 hp V-1710-23 engines and fitted with 37 mm cannons in wing nacelles, eight built, two later converted to YFM-1B.

YFM-1A – (Model 8) Development aircraft with tricycle landing gear, three built.

YFM-1B – YFM-1 re-engined with 1,090 hp V-1710-41 engines, two converted from YFM-1.

YFM-1C – (Model 17) – proposed variant not proceeded with.

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