Aircraft Type Index

Jet Fighter Planes Index



Bell P-59 Airacomet Jet Fighter Plane

The Bell P-59A Airacomet was the First American jet aircraft, and first flew in October 1942, it was powered by a General Electric version of Power Jets W.1 turbojet engine. The USAAF placed an initial order for 80 P-59A in June 1943. Tests proved that the designs performance was inferior to the RAF's Gloster Meteor jet fighter and even the conventional P-51 Mustang, orders were cancelled after only 50 of the aircraft were built and no P-59A Airacomets entered into any combat situation.

Bell P-59 Airacomet Jet Fighter Plane


It is of note that the designation Bell P-59A was used to confuse potential spies as to the true nature of the plane, it was hoped it would be assumed it was a variant of the cancelled conventional Bell XP-59 fighter, prototypes were even fitted with dummy propellers when on the ground for added security!

Bell P-59A Airacomet Specifications:

  • Crew: Pilot only
  • Length: 38 ft 2 in (11.63 m)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 6 in (13.87 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)
  • Empty weight: 7,940 lb (3,600 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 12,700 lb (5,760 kg)
  • Engine: Twin 2,000 lbf (8.9 kN) General Electric I-A turbojets
  • Maximum speed: 413 mph (664 km/h)
  • Range: 240 mi (386 km)
  • Service ceiling 46,200 ft (14,080 m)

Bell P-59A Airacomet Armament:

  • Single 37 mm cannon
  • Triple .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns

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