Yakovlev Yak-3 v. Bell P-63 Kingcobra

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ShVAK, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #1 ShVAK, Aug 29, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
    If given the choice, which would've been your preferred mount in the low to medium altitude combat over the Eastern Front circa late '44?

    Let's consider the specs:

    Yakovlev Yak-3

    [​IMG]

    General characteristics

    Crew: 1
    Length: 8.5 m (27 ft 10 in)
    Wingspan: 9.2 m (30 ft 2 in)
    Height: 2.39 m (7 ft 11 in)
    Wing area: 14.85 m² (159.8 ft²)
    Empty weight: 2,105 kg (4,640 lb)
    Loaded weight: 2,692 kg (5,864 lb)
    Powerplant: 1 × Klimov VK-105PF-2 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, 970 kW (1,300 hp)

    Performance

    Maximum speed: 655 km/h (407 mph)
    Range: 650 km (405 miles)
    Service ceiling: 10,700 m (35,000 ft)
    Rate of climb: 18.5 m/s (3,645 ft/min)
    Wing loading: 181 kg/m² (36.7 lb/ft²)
    Power/mass: 0.36 kW/kg (0.22 hp/lb)

    Armament

    Guns:
    1 × 20 mm ShVAK cannon,
    2 × 12.7 mm Berezin UBS machine guns

    Bell P-63A Kingcobra

    [​IMG]

    General characteristics

    Crew: 1
    Length: 32 ft 8 in (10.0 m)
    Wingspan: 38 ft 4 in (11.7 m)
    Height: 12 ft 7 in (3.8 m)
    Wing area: 248 sq ft (23 m²)
    Empty weight: 6,800 lb (3,100 kg)
    Loaded weight: 8,800 lb (4,000 kg)
    Max. takeoff weight: 10,700 lb (4,900 kg)
    Powerplant: 1 × Allison V-1710-117 liquid-cooled V-12, 1,800 hp (1,340 kW)

    Performance

    Maximum speed: 410 mph (660 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
    Range: 450 mi[35] (725 km)
    Ferry range: 2200 mi (3,540 km)
    Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,100 m)
    Rate of climb: 2,500 ft/min (12.7 m/s)
    Wing loading: 35.48 lb/sq ft (173.91 kg/m²)
    Power/mass: 0.20 hp/lb (0.34 kW/kg)

    Armament

    Guns:
    1× 37 mm M4 cannon firing through the propeller hub
    4× 0.50 in (12.7mm) M2 Browning machine guns (two in the nose, two in the wings)
    Bombs: 1,500 lb (680 kg) bomb load on wing and fuselage

    The Yak-3 had a superior power to weight ratio, better climb and roll rate but the Bell P-63 doesn't seem too far behind. The P-39, which we have far more info on than the -63 in Soviet service, certainly wasn't a slouch in Eastern Front conditions and did have its share of aces. Also had much better payload, armor, and armament than most marks of Yak.

    Worth noting that Marcel Albert, the second-scoring ace of the Free French who served alongside the Soviets in the Normandie fighter group thought very highly of the Yak-3--even comparing it favorably to the Spit and P-51D.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    What is the internal fuel capacity of these relatively small aircraft?
     
  3. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    Can't find data on either unfortunately.
     
  4. eagledad

    eagledad Member

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    Hello

    The Yak 3 had two 170 liter tanks in the wings (total of 74.8 gallons). The P-63 had two tanks in the wings each holding 63 to 66 gallons each for a total of a 126 to 132 gallons.

    Eagledad

    Data from America's 100,000 and Yakovlev Aircraft
     
  5. Rogi

    Rogi Active Member

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    I'd go with the Yak-3 its variants have been used well beyond WW2 while the kingcobra hadn't. I'm sure the North Koreans used Yak 3s, Not sure if its been confirmed anywhere but I'm 30% sure the Yak-3 had been used in Vietnam (if not I may have confused a North Korean bird for a NV one :S )

    Proven track record, but at the point in time of the war had I had the choice, I'd of gone with what most pilots were flying at the time, Yak-3 or P-39 most likely, if I had the choice and wasn't ordered to fly something else :)
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The numbers are quite wrong. The Bell P-63 could climb between 4,400 and 5,000 feet per minute in some models, even the P-63A (4,600 fpm). It could climb 2,500 fpm on normal power of less than 35 inches of MAP, and routinely climbed at 58+ inches of MAP. Look up the P-63 perormance charts! The "charts" are from the Mike Wiliams collection, dated 5 June 1944. The "E" model started out with the lowest rate of climb at 4,400 fpm, but overtook the rest at about 17,500 feet and outclimbed the rest all the way to 40,000 feet. Weights were 8,200 - 8,500 pounds.

    The top speed was anywhere from 425 ("A") - 445 ("E") mph, depending on model. I partitularly like the ones powered by the Allsion G-6 engine with aux supercharger. There were no "dogtooth" squiggles in the speed versus altitude chart.

    The P-63 handily outperformed the P-51D for most variables and certainly hit harder when the cannon was working.
     
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  7. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #7 ShVAK, Aug 30, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
    I'd like to see those numbers in full if you have 'em. Wasn't aware that the -63 performed so well at high altitude.

    The P-63 was definitely proof that there was both greater potential and longevity in the Bell design than the USAAF originally thought. I don't think it was well suited to the ETO (at least not outside the Eastern Front) due to lack of range but could've definitely been used to effect in interceptor (it was better in horizontal maneuvers than late-war marks of Bf 109 and Fw 190A) and close air support roles. Too bad the M-4/T9 cannon was never very reliable as an airborne weapon.
     
  8. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello
    in fact VVS still used P-63s at least in late 1950.

    Juha
     
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  9. eWildcat

    eWildcat Member

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    The Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) used its P-63s till 1951 too, and they flew combat missions in South-East Asia.
     
  10. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... The P-63 was definitely proof that there was both greater potential and longevity in the Bell design than the USAAF originally thought. "

    Absolutely .....

    MM
     
  11. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    The design of the P63 apparently had a lot of input from the Soviets, who were always going to be the main customers I suppose. I read somewhere that it was suppied to the USSR on the condition that it not be used in the ETO, but the Soviets happily ignored the injunction - or is that another myth?
    Interesting that the Kingcobra retained the 37mm cannon when the P-400 with a 20mm was prefered by many USAAF pilots. The Soviets must have liked it. I also read that by the time of the P63 there was a disintigrating belt for the ammo that gretly improved reliability. Still, you would want to be a pretty good shot to hit a jimking target with that big, slow cannon - but then one hit would have done the job, I guess.
     
  12. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    The great climbing performance of the P-63 was also acknowleged by some Luftwaffe pilots, it being capable of outperforming even the Fw 190D-9 in that regard. Source is Axel Urbanke's "First in combat with the Dora-9".
     
  13. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    If the numbers supplied by Greg for the P-63 are accurate vs if the numbers supplied shVAK for the Yak-3 are accurate, IMHO I think it's a no brainer. I'd go with the P-63.
     
  14. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    There was only 1 P-63D and 13 P-63Es built. Might as well call them fantasy a/c.

    Bell P-63 Kingcobra

    Specification of the Bell P-63C Kingcobra

    Power plant: One Allison V-1710-117 engine with a war emergency rating of 1500 hp at sea level and 1800 hp with water injection. Performance: maximum speed 410 mph at 25,000 feet. An altitude of 25,000 feet could be reached in 8.6 minutes (avg 2907f/m). Service ceiling was 38,600 feet. Weights: 6800 pounds empty, 8800 pounds gross, and 10,700 pounds maximum takeoff.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Not true
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Yak 3 would be useless unless the fight takes place above your airfield. You might not even complete the dogfight before running out of fuel. How could someone introduce a 1944 fighter aircraft with such a small fuel tank?
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi ShVAK,

    Try P-63 Performance Tests

    The charts are quite interesting. Also, we just finished overhauling an Allison for a P-63 in San Marcos, Texas (CAF) and it has rather sparkling performance. So does the one at the Palm Springs Air Museum which usually flies in out airshow at the Planes of Fame.

    We are now in receipt of two Allisons, one of which will be overhauled for yet another P-63 being restored to flight status in Georgia (U.S.A.). Seems like the P-63's are slowly returning to the air.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I don't doubt it. However reports like this leave me feeling somewhat uneasy concerning both the P-39 and P-63. Did Bell ever get the spin recovery problem fixed?
    Bell P-63 Kingcobra - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    It was short legged with a range of about 400 miles, but it was far from "suicide." The Spitfire MkI carried 85 gallons imp (102 US).
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It is what happens when you try to design a high performance fighter with a 1200-1300hp engine. You can't have everything so they sacrificed range for speed, climb and turn. Weight of armament was on the low side too. Excellent performance for what they had to work with but "TANSTAAFL".
     
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