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Bell P-59 Airacomet

Bell P-59 Airacomet

Bell Aircraft

Bell P-59 Airacomet

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Aircraft

P-39 Airacobra • P-59 Airacomet • P-63 • X-1A – R.66

Bell Aircraft

The Bell P-59 Airacomet was a single-seat, twin jet-engine fighter aircraft that was designed and built by Bell Aircraft during World War II.

Goto Bell Aircraft

The Bell P-59 Airacomet was a single-seat, twin jet-engine fighter aircraft that was designed and built by Bell Aircraft during World War II, the first produced in the United States. As the British were further along in jet engine development, they donated an engine for the United States to copy in 1941 that became the basis for the General Electric jet used by the P-59 a year later. Underpowered, the United States Army Air Forces was not impressed by its performance and canceled half of the original order for 100 fighters, using the completed aircraft as trainers. Although no P-59s entered combat, the aircraft paved the way for later generations of U.S. turbojet-powered aircraft.

Operational History

The 13 service test YP-59As had a more powerful engine than their predecessor, the General Electric J31, but the performance improvement was negligible, with top speed increased by only 5  mph and a reduction in the time they could be used before an overhaul was needed. One of these aircraft, the third YP-59A (S/n: 42-22611) was supplied to the Royal Air Force (receiving British serial RG362/G), in exchange for the first production Gloster Meteor I, EE210/G.[14] British pilots found that the aircraft compared very unfavorably with the jets that they were already flying. Two YP-59A Airacomets (42-108778 and 42-100779) were also delivered to the U.S. Navy where they were evaluated as the “YF2L-1” but were quickly found completely unsuitable for carrier operations.

P-59 Airacomet
Bell P-59B Airacomet at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.jpg
Bell P-59B Airacomet at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
RoleFighter
National originUnited States
ManufacturerBell Aircraft
First flight1 October 1942
Primary usersUnited States Army Air Forces
United States Navy
Royal Air Force
Number built66

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 38 ft 10 in (11.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 6 in (13.87 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)
  • Wing area: 386 sq ft (35.9 m2)
  • Airfoil: root: NACA 66-014; tip: NACA 66-212[34]
  • Empty weight: 8,165 lb (3,704 kg)
  • Gross weight: 11,040 lb (5,008 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 13,700 lb (6,214 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 356 US gallons (1,350 l; 296 imp gal)
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric J31-GE-5 centrifugal-flow turbojet engines, 2,000 lbf (8.9 kN) thrust each

Performance

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 389 mph (626 km/h, 338 kn)
  • Stall speed: 95 mph (153 km/h, 83 kn) power off, flaps and undercarriage down
  • Never exceed speed: 525 mph (845 km/h, 456 kn)
  • Range: 525 mi (845 km, 456 nmi) on internal fuel
  • Service ceiling: 35,000 ft (11,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,805 ft/min (19.33 m/s) at 7,400 ft (2,256 m) (using emergency power)
  • Time to altitude: 15,000 ft (4,572 m) in 4 minutes 30 seconds, at 160 mph (260 km/h)
  • Wing loading: 34.6 lb/sq ft (169 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.16 hp/lb (0.26 kW/kg)

Related

Armament

  • Guns:
  • Bombs: Up to 500 lb (230 kg) of bombs under wings and belly

Aircrafttoaal encyclopedia

The Bell Aircraft Corporation was an aircraft manufacturer of the United States, a builder of several types of fighter aircraft for World War II but most famous for the Bell X-1, the first supersonic aircraft, and for the development and production of many important civilian and military helicopters. Bell also developed the Reaction Control System for the Mercury Spacecraft, North American X-15, and Bell Rocket Belt. The company was purchased in 1960 by Textron, and lives on as Bell Helicopter.