What do you think of the bell p-39 was it a good dogfighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by stalkervision, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. stalkervision

    stalkervision New Member

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    I know someone that just raves about the p-39 and says Chuck Yeager loved it! What do you think about the plane. As good as the me-109?
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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  3. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    I'll second that motion.
     
  4. Aggie08

    Aggie08 Active Member

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    quickly shot down...

    if i recall correctly it worked fine at low altitudes and was used for attack with decent success and didnt work well at higher altitudes, something about the air intake i think. sound right to anyone else?
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The P-39 is the perfect example of what happens when the government continually changes a design requirement during development. The P-39 initially was designed as a high altitude interceptor, had a supercharger, and seemed to have a bright future. Then the AAF wanted the thing to drop bombs and carry additional equipment. When the supercharger went away the AAF forgot that fact and placed it in harms way and emplyed tactics which it got smacked around pretty good, although the export versions, the P-400 did well in some cases as it had a more reliable cannon and was employed at lower altitudes. The Russians obviously had success with it and Bell tried to improve the design with P-63, actually a much better aircraft. I had an uncle who was washed out of flight training, but had a chance to fly a P-39 and he always felt uneasy knowing that there was this long drive shaft between his legs!

    If you ask me, the aircraft got a bad rap and was continually placed in roles by the AAF for which it wasn't intended. Would I want to fly against an ME-109 in one? HELL NO! Give me some trucks and trains to shoot at instead!
     
  6. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    It was not a good plane. Although the Russians used them well, which leads me to draw the conclsion that it was a good plane with inaccessible performance. The P-39 was designed in the same specification as the P-38 and P-40. Look how much more successful the P-38 was that both these aircraft! 2 englines, with superchargers, are better than one castrated engine (obviously ;) ) 8)

    But no. It really wasnt a good plane.
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    That's because the USAAF left the P-38 design board alone as the aircraft was so advanced. The man responsible for the P-38 desgin was probably smarter than the whole USAAF procurement board!
     
  8. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    Oh I agree, Kelly Johnson was a great man. He knew what he was doing.
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Yep - very tactfully he had a way of telling government beaucrafts to F#*k off, unless they brought a good idea to the table. Fortunetly people in high places left him alone and listened to him most of the time.

    The P-63 was a much better aircraft, but still sub-par when compared to say a Mustang or P-38. I think I would of used it in lieu of the P-40.
     
  10. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    Me too.

    How did the P-39/P-63 cope as a Ground Attack plane?
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Real well, at least as far as the Russians go. I believe the P-63 climbed about 3400 FPM, and had a service ceiling of 43,000 ft, not bad for a "dog."

    Believe it or not there was a plan to put a merlin in the P-63, but it never happened.
     
  12. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Almost sounds like the German RLM!
     
  13. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    a great axample of how politics can effect an aircraft.....
     
  14. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    And this was prevelant in Germany.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Very true my young friend! I think Bell just went along with what the government wanted and when things didn't work, it was real easy to blame the contractor for buiding a bad plane, although that same bad plane worked well with the Russians, were built in huge numbers, and still made someone very rich!
     
  16. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    i think politics stay out of british planes for the most part, there are occasions where they get involved but you'll always have them.........
     
  17. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    When its bad is when you have a politician getting involved in an aircraft's development or procurement and they know nothing about aircraft, engineering, the military or anything mechanical! :rolleyes:

    We had a senator here named Pat Schroeder. She made a comment about Stealth Technology - "Well I don't know whats good about it, I also don't know whats bad about it." My God! This woman was deciding what equipment the US military would purchase, it sounded like she was deciding a shoe purchase! #-o
     
  18. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think to answer this, Was the P-39 a good dogfighter? Well only if you saw this in front of you whilst firing the 37mm cannon. After that you better run like hell! :evil4:

    No the P-39 was NOT a good dogfighter!
     

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  20. wmaxt

    wmaxt Active Member

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    In Warren Bodies book on the P-38, Ben Kelsely, the AAF rep for the P-38 tells the story that the P-38 escaped the "Help" of the AAF engineering staff at Wright Patterson Air Base because of the crash of the prototype. The P-39 didn't have that Blessing and suffered a lot.

    wmaxt
     
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