This P-39 Airacobra at Oshkosh did a couple of passes in the air show. Although I was looking for it, it still surprised me on it’s first pass and was hard for me to follow on its second pass. Still, it’s a cool looking fighter. With its tricycle landing gear, nose-mounted cannon and 1,300-horsepower Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled, 12-cylinder engine mounted behind the pilot and turning the propeller by a driveshaft, the P-39 was better looking than many other fighters of the period. But some pilots thought that it looked better than it flew. It did not have a supercharger for high-altitude performance. Still, at lower altitudes, the P-39 with its heavy armament could hold its own against he famed Japanese Zero. Only one American pilot became an ace in the P-39 Airacobra.
Hank in a P-39 Airacobra! Well, I’m just sitting in it. Still, it looks like it would be fun to fly. Most of the instruments and gauges look familiar. Of course, the torque on takeoff, with an Allison liquid-cooled V-12, 1200 hp engine, would take some real rudder. Oshkosh always challenges me to balance my time between piloting interests and photog interests. Sometimes they come together; sometimes not so much. Notice how the hard noon light makes this a difficult shot. A little fill flash might have helped. This image was captured by the Commemorative Air Force pilot of this P-39. Thanks for the photo and many thanks for keeping this fine aircraft flying. In the near future, I’ll post a bit more information on the P-39 Airacobra.
P-39 Airacobra by AAF Photographer: This image represents another sneak peek at a new project presenting the work of an Army Air Force photographer for the 494th BG. Hopefully, within a couple of weeks, I’ll have a 30+ image gallery of his images along with some historical information about his military photographic journey. Stay tuned for more amazing images taken with a Speed Graphic 4×5 camera.