Bell P-63C Kingcobra

Last revised September 12, 1999

The next production version of the Kingcobra was the P-63C. The first P-63C production block, designated P-63C-1 (company designation Model 33C-1), differed from the P-63A by being powered by the uprated Allison V-1710-117 engine with a war emergency rating of 1500 hp at sea level and 1800 hp with water injection. The wingspan was reduced by ten inches to 38 feet 4 inches. Apart from the more powerful engine, the P-63C-1 was basically similar to the P-63A-10.

The next P-63C production block was the P-63C-5. The most noticeable change introduced by the P-63C-5 was the addition of a ventral fin underneath the aft fuselage, intended to improve the directional stability. Total weight of armor rose to 201 pounds. Some of the earlier P-63C-1s were retrofitted with the ventral fin, but may not have been fitted to all aircraft.

The first P-63C deliveries took place in December 1944, with the total production being 1227 aircraft. Most of these aircraft were delivered to the Soviet Union, although 114 were delivered to the Armee de l'Air.

Serials of the P-63C series were as follows:

42-70686/70860 	Bell P-63C-1 Kingcobra 
43-10893/10932 	Bell P-63C-1 Kingcobra 
43-10933/11132 	Bell RP-63C-2 Kingcobra 
44-4001/4427 	Bell P-63C-5 Kingcobra 
43-11133/11717 	Bell P-63C-5 Kingcobra 

Specificaion of the Bell P-63C Kingcobra

Powerplant: 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. Service ceiling was 38,600 feet. Weights: 6800 pounds empty, 8800 pounds gross, and 10,700 pounds maximum takeoff. Dimensions: Wingspan 38 feet 4 inches, length 32 feet 8 inches, height 12 feet 7 inches, and wing area 248 square feet. Armament: One 37-mm cannon in the propeller hub, plus four 0.50-inch machine guns, two in the fuselage and two in underwing gondolas.


  1. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

  2. War Planes of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.

  3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  4. P-39 Airacobra In Action, Ernie McDowell, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1980.

  5. Bell Cobra Variants-P-39 Airacobra and P-63 Kingcobra, Robert F. Dorr, Wings of Fame, Vol 10, 1998.