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The P-39 why a failure for the West and a winner in Russia?

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  • #31

    They discuss stalls for several minutes in this


    • #32

      The odd handling qualities caused by a mid-mount engine is not the only reason why many pilots did not like the P-39.

      The P-39D was too heavy for the rated power and the British version was worse. At 7,850 lbs. the Airacobra Mk I was bloated and overweight, thanks to UK spec equipment and armor plating. This plane was a whopping 1,200 lbs. heavier than the original, fast-climbing P-39C.

      If one tried to hang an extra 1,200 lbs. on a Spitfire Mk I or Hurricane Mk I, rest assured that it's rate of climb and ceiling would sink like a stone.

      I'm not sure why some people think that the Allison engine was not supercharged. Every V-1710 had a single-stage internal supercharger and there were many versions, just like the Rolls Royce Merlin.

      The P-38, P-63 and P-40Q had two stages of supercharging. The Lightning used turbos for that purpose, while the other two planes had engines with a mechanical second stage blower.
      Last edited by EKB; 07 Sep 18, 01:54.


      • #33
        Originally posted by Andy H View Post

        Hi Belgrave

        Your not wrong that the powerplant was a major issue along with the other aspects already mentioned. I've just come across the issue of the compass as stated in the book. It mentions in the book that the French Aircobra orders had also specified the fitment of engines with a single stage mechanical superchargers, to provide spares and maintenance communality with engines ordered for French bombers purchased in the USA.


        Andy H
        Three Free French fighter groups (GC-3/6, GC-1/4 and GC-1/5) were equipped with the P-39 Aircobra in 1943 and they were said to be very unpopular and disliked by their pilots. At the time, they were unused to the forward landing gear as well as flying with an external fuel tank which they often forgot to release when flying in combat or as they returned to their base when damaged. French ace Pierre le Gloan was killed attempting to belly land a P-39 when it developed engine trouble and was killed in the subsequent explosion when the external fuel tank exploded.

        Several of the Free French pilots so disliked the P-39, they actually petitioned to have their aircraft replaced with the older P-40 Warhawks they had trained in, though fortunately they received instead the P-47D the same year.
        You'll live, only the best get killed.

        -General Charles de Gaulle


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