The P-39 was one of America's first-line pursuit planes in December 1941. It made its initial flight in April 1939 at Wright Field and by the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, nearly 600 had been built. Its unique engine location behind the cockpit caused some pilot concern, but this proved to be no more of a hazard in a crash landing than with an engine located forward of the cockpit. However, the P-39's spin characteristics could be quite a problem if recovery techniques were ignored.
The Airacobra saw combat throughout the world, particularly in the Southwest Pacific, Mediterranean and Russian theaters. Because its engine was not equipped with a supercharger, the P-39 performed best below 17,000 feet altitude, and it often was used at lower altitudes for such missions as ground strafing. When P-39 production ended in August 1944, Bell had built 9,584 Airacobras, of which 4,773 had been allotted to the Soviet Union. Russian pilots, in particular, liked the cannon-armed P-39 for its ground attack capability. Other P-39s served with French and British forces.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a USAAF Bell P-400 Airacobra Fighter was attached to the 67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, 13th Air Force, then deployed to Guadalcanal during 1942. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 5-3/4 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: June 2008
Historical Account: "The Cactus Air Force" - Cactus Air Force refers to the ensemble allied air power assigned to the island of Guadalcanal from August 1942 until December 1942 during the early stages of the Guadalcanal Campaign, particularly those operating from Henderson Field. After December, the official name of the unit became Allied Air Forces in the Solomons, but Cactus Air Force was still used frequently to refer to the organization. The term "Cactus" comes from the Allied code name for the island. In April, 1943 the organization was re-designated as AirSols.