"Home to Henderson"
Bell Aircraft Corp. P-39D/P-400 ‘Airacobra’

A revolutionary design, the Airacobra had its engine located behind the pilot and was one of the first fighters to feature a tricycle landing gear.  But due to the pace of fighter development in the early 1940’s, the P-39 was rapidly outclassed.  It fought well against heavy odds in the early days in the Pacific where it was mainly used in the ground-attack role and later won high praise from Russia in the same role.

A total of 9,500 Bell P-39’s were produced between 1939 and 1944 with some 5,000 going to the Soviet Union.  The RAF ordered 675 Airacobras (P-400) with the 37-mm replaced with a 20-mm cannon.  Most of these however were repossessed by the US Army after Pearl Harbor.

This painting shows a flight of P-400 “Klunkers” from the Army’s 67 Fighter Squadron, part of the Cactus Air Force returning to Henderson Field in Sept. 1942 after a ground attack mission supporting the US Marines.