Bell P-39L Airacobra

Last revised June 26, 1999

The second set of the redesignated P-39Gs were the 250 P-39Ls. Serials were 42-4454/4703. They were powered by the 1325 hp Allison V-1710-63 engine, the same engine which powered the P-39K. It differed from the K in reverting to the Curtiss Electric propeller. Gross weight was up to 9100 pounds, but the more powerful engine gave better low-altitude performance than the P-39D. A new nosewheel of somewhat different design was fitted, which offered less drag at takeoff. Provision was made for the fitting of rocket rails under the wings. It was otherwise identical to the P-39D-2.

P-39Ls flew in New Guinea and North African in 1943.

Eleven were modified for photoreconnaissance under the designation P-39L-2-BE. The serials of these planes were 42-4457, 4461, 4462, 4465, 4466, 4470, 4471, 4476, 4489, 4553, and 4630.

Serials of P-39L:

42-4454/4703		Bell P-39L-1-BE Airacobra


  1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.

  2. The American Fighter, Enzo Anguluci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

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

  4. P-39 Airacobra in Action, Ernie MCDowell, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1980

  5. Airacobra Advantage: The Flying Cannon, Rick Mitchell, Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Missoula, Montana

  6. The Calamitous 'Cobra, Air Enthusiast, August 1971.

  7. Bell Cobra Variants, Robert F. Dorr, Wings of Fame, Vol 10, AirTime Publishing , Inc., 1998.