Bell P-63E Kingcobra

Last revised September 12, 1999

The next version of the Kingcobra was the P-63E-1 (Bell Model 41). The P-63E was generally similar to the experimental P-63D, and retained the larger wing and the Allison V-1710-119 engine of the bubble-topped D. However, the P-63E-1 reverted to the standard Kingcobra framed cockpit with the car-like door on either side. The P-63E-1 restored the ventral fin extension that was fitted to the later production block of the P-63C, a feature which had been omitted from the P-63D. The P-63E-1 also differed in having an additional 28 US-gallons of internal fuel capacity.

2943 P-63E-1s were ordered for supply to American allies under Lend-Lease, consisting of 205 examples (42-19241/19445) that were originally on P-39N contracts, 1995 (42-21251/22245) that began as P-39Q-10s, and 257 (43-11736/12092) that were designated as P-63E-1 from the outset. Serial numbers were assigned to an additional 425 P-63E-1s (44-4676/5100) that began as P-63Cs. However, the end of the war in Europe caused the P-63E-1 contracts to be cancelled after only thirteen examples had been built.

The P-63E-5 was to have been an improved P-63E-1 for the USSR. It would have had a revised instrument panel, and a bubble canopy similar to that of the P-63D-1. The cowling would have been redesigned, larger wing fillets would have been installed, a new vertical fin would have been fitted, and a revised ventral fin. However, the project was cancelled before anything could be built.

Of the 13 P-63Es built, the last five were delivered to the Honduras air force in the late 1940s

P-63E 42-11727/N9003R (a former Honduran machine) was displayed for years at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona painted in Soviet markings. It is now painted in US markings. P-63E serial number 43-11728 is on display at the WPAFB Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

The serial numbers of the P-63Es that were completed were as follows:

43-11720/11721 Bell P-63E-1 Kingcobra 
43-11725/11735 Bell P-63E-1 Kingcobra 

Specification of Bell P-63E-1 Kingcobra:

Powerplant: One Allison V-1710-109 (E22) liquid cooled-engine rated at 1425 hp for take off Performance: Maximum speed was 410 mph at 25,000 feet, and an altitude of 25,000 feet could be reached in 7.6 minutes. Normal range was 725 miles, and maximum ferry range was 2150 miles. Weights: 7300 pounds empty, and normal and maximum loaded weights were 9400 pounds and 11,200 pounds respectively. Dimensions were wingspan 39 feet 2 inches, length 32 feet 8 inches, height 12 feet 9 inches, and wing area 255 square feet. Armament: The nose cannon was an M10 37-mm cannon with 58 rounds, but a 20-mm T31 cannon with 175 rounds could be alternatively installed. Two 0.50-inch machine guns in the nose cowling and two 0.50-inch machine guns in underwing pods.


  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.