P-39 Airacobra - One Of The Rarest WW2 Warbirds

Historical Aviation Film Unit
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For over 20 years, Pioneer Aero Limited, based at Armore Aerodrome in Auckland, have been one of New Zealand's (and the world's), foremost restorers of Second World War aircraft.
In this video Paul McSweeny, the director of the company, discusses the Bell P-39 Airacobra restoration that Pioneer is on the verge of completing for Jerry Yagen's Warbirds Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach USA . Once this aircraft flies it will be the third airworthy P-39 in the world, making it one of the more rare WW2 fighter aircraft types.
Paul also discusses some of the other restoration projects the company has underway at the moment, including another couple of P-40 Warhawks/Kittyhawks. These projects mean that Pioneer Aero will soon be responsible for restoring almost a third of the worlds population of 32-33 airworthy P-40 fighters -- a remarkable feat in itself.
In addition to the P-40's, Paul briefly talks about the de Havilland DH.103 Sea Hornet and Vought Kingfisher projects that the company is also soon to embark on.
See Pioneer's web site for more info: www.pioneeraero.co.nz
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This video material may not be reproduced in any form (except on other websites as an unedited embedded video which links back to to this IN-vid master), without the written permission of the Historical Aviation Film Unit.
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Bell P-39AiracobraPioneer AerowarbirdWW2fighter aircraft

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टिप्पणियाँ 1 061
Burn Victim Yoda
Burn Victim Yoda 6 घंटे पहले
6:05 "and the two fifty mil cannons on top." Safe to say he meant to say fifty cal.
Cyril Scordia
Cyril Scordia 2 दिन पहले
dont this p39 may have got a turbocompressed but not mounted on some delivered model you could also put a better motor (p63) or redesign it in p51 ;-)
YCJ 2 दिन पहले
Possible dumb question but if these were replaced by the P-38s, why did the Lightning's have a lower number?
Historical Aviation Film Unit
Historical Aviation Film Unit 5 घंटे पहले
Not sure but it's likely that the development of these started after the development of the P-38....
US Air Force Nerd
US Air Force Nerd 3 दिन पहले
Thing's a beauty
Lancer525 4 दिन पहले
Song that was sung by American pilots of the Airacobra: Don't give me a P-39! With the engine mounted behind! It will snap, it will roll, it will dig a big hole! Don't give me a P-39!
Fifth Business
Fifth Business 4 दिन पहले
3:12 .... excuse me? 😂 What?
Kev Ro
Kev Ro 4 दिन पहले
Too bad the USA wasted so many by giving them away to the ungrateful Soviets.
Jorge Davila
Jorge Davila 3 दिन पहले
Kev Ro are you dumb read the comments the Soviets loved this plane
hwatson069 5 दिन पहले
There is this absolutely excellent book, authored by Edwards Park (since deceased) entitled "Nannette". He flew a P39 in New Guinea. He will testify that when the 37mm ammo was expended the thing became tail heavy and tended to tumble.
hwatson069 5 दिन पहले
He remarked that the P39 had three gun selector switches, one for the .30 Cals., one for the 37mm, and one for the .50 cals. He noted that if the pilot selected all three, when the trigger was pulled the cockpit filled with acrid smoke and the airspeed dropped of about 10 mph. The guy is hillarious!
TubeFire 5 दिन पहले
Good homestead defense gun.
Collin Branscum
Collin Branscum 6 दिन पहले
Trump sent Russia airplanes in ww2!!!
Douglas Brannon
Douglas Brannon 6 दिन पहले
The Soviets were happy to get their hands on any weapon at that time.
Frosticles the Benificent
Frosticles the Benificent 7 दिन पहले
Looks pretty mean!
matt 7 दिन पहले
"50 mil cannon" i hope he ment cal, if not I WANT THAT VERSION IN WARTHUNDER xD
Roger Hockemier
Roger Hockemier 8 दिन पहले
How in the hell did they engineer the drive train from the engine to the prop? Was it Hyd?
snipersl270 8 दिन पहले
There is a driveshaft coming directly off the crank at the bottom of the engine which runs just over the floor on the cockpit which goes to a reduction gearbox which turns the prop. The old guy says as much in the video.
Kimo Andrews
Kimo Andrews 8 दिन पहले
My uncle trained in this in the area of Grand Coulee Dam. They practiced shooting up old cars but they wouldn't arm the cannon which he said was right between his legs. He lamented that he never had a chance to fire that cannon. He deployed in a P38 as a member of the 80th fighter squadron.
Springvale Studios, Ipswich, Suffolk, East Anglia, UK.
Why didn't somebody just just remove the Alison with its detonation and high altitude supercharging problems and put the engine out of a P51 mustang in it. Packard were banging them out by the train load as were many factories in Britain of course, not just Rolls Royce but due to its commonality in parts to the Rover meteor tank engine and marine Merlins being developed by WO Bentley, Hubert Scott-Paine and Henry Meadows engines of Wolverhampton who made many awesome engines for hydroplane racing, including the very neat flat 12 Engine and the clever pre selector transaxle to go with it for for the revolutionary WW2 Tetrach air transportable tank, I am half British Half American and don't understand the politics that went with full technical cooperation in all out war. Why oh why did nobody in the USA continue to build and help develop the Ricardo Rolls Royce V12 engine that went bang every time it went past top dead center and toward the end of its development (before the battle of Britain put the project on the back burner), was encouragingly going bang less overall in testing as follows. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Crecy What would a P-39 have gone like with a Rolls Crecy in the caboose.:-)
Sacto1654 9 दिन पहले
I think had Allison developed the V-1710 with a decent supercharging system, they could have solved the altitude performance problem. The P-39 with such an engine would have been a _potent_ fighter.
wood1155 9 दिन पहले
Many of the top Soviet pilots flew the P-39 which tells you it wasn't a bad plane.
Drew Goin
Drew Goin 10 दिन पहले
A friend's dad was the only surviving test pilot of this plane in its Washington State tests. The prior pilots died in uncontrollable spins. He managed to get it to recover and could report the issues to the team.
Kayraaa2 10 दिन पहले
This thing could use a Merlin and wings of a Spitfire. Alternatively, put the engine at the back, turn it into a pusher like Dornier did and put more guns at the front.
analyste 9 दिन पहले
the improved P39 was the P63 ..
Tom Servo
Tom Servo 10 दिन पहले
After reading about these I get the sense that really good pilots loved these-while less skilled pilots didn't like it's stall characteristics. However Chuck Yeager and 'Winkle' Brown loved them.
DieHard10901 11 दिन पहले
My father-in-law built these during WWII. He worked in the wing department. To beat the draft at age 32 he headed to Buffalo, NY by train from a farming community 80 miles northwest of NY City. He spent the entire war there. He said, every plane built had Russian stars on them and they all went to Russia. Pop was a lifelong Pontiac automobile mechanic except for his time with Bell Aircraft. - nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/americas-worst-world-war-ii-fighter-was-the-star-the-russian-22152 - Spin Testing ( a classified film once-upon-a-time!) in-vid.net/video/%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%A1%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%AF%E0%A5%8B-BWwI6gZw67g.html
Samuel Karlsson
Samuel Karlsson 11 दिन पहले
I guess the designers looked at a car while designing this plane, it got like car doors, the side windows roll down just like in a car, it is NOT a tail dragger, making it stand parallel to the ground like a car. I guess only a DC-3 yoke is what's missing, those look almost like a car steering wheel!
Ralph Reagan
Ralph Reagan 12 दिन पहले
My father thought they were great in the Aleutians in the war
chuck Chuck
chuck Chuck 12 दिन पहले
Is this the great grandfather of the A10 warthog? Didn't that get built around the gun
sargint rock
sargint rock 12 दिन पहले
Most Excellent! Always admired the P-39's and P-40's! They carried the load along with the British Hurricanes at the beginning in WW2 in Pacific areas. Like the 9mm, still a potent cartridge in the right hands. A million STENS can't be wrong!
TralfazConstruction 12 दिन पहले
Thank you for this thoughtful and informative presentation.
Sir Illuminar The Valient
Sir Illuminar The Valient 12 दिन पहले
With the center of gravity. Pushed that far back I bet this thing maneuvered great And was a raving bitch about stalling
gg Metro21
gg Metro21 12 दिन पहले
Engine behind you would save your ass.
WHO'S THiS 12 दिन पहले
Big daddy brrrrt's papa?!
Blaster Elforg
Blaster Elforg 13 दिन पहले
A real beauty. May have later on inspired the design of the less photogenic F-107.
Lorentz Coffin
Lorentz Coffin 13 दिन पहले
I love flying this in war thunder where it’s performance is phenomenal partly because high altitude combat is not seen as much. I’m able to easily take on any fighter in the higher battle ratings up until jets.
Eagle CHawks
Eagle CHawks 13 दिन पहले
Read a book by a Russian ace about his experience in the P-39. He loved his. The Luftwaffe was flying ground support all the time - which meant they were operating low enough for him to engage bombers with his 37mm. Said it was a devastating hit on a bomber wing.
harrison follis
harrison follis 13 दिन पहले
Have you ever heard the expression don't look a gift horse in the mouth
HaB22 13 दिन पहले
"So it's go-wen to the U-iss"
Johann Vonshnidy
Johann Vonshnidy 13 दिन पहले
Aaron Foster
Aaron Foster 14 दिन पहले
My grandfather was crew chief on the propeller production line for the P-39, so thank you for keeping his legacy alive. Any chance you'll be bringing it to the states?
Aaron Foster
Aaron Foster 13 दिन पहले
@Historical Aviation Film Unit Temporarily or permanently?
Historical Aviation Film Unit
Historical Aviation Film Unit 13 दिन पहले
It's in Virginia Beach now.
America's Choice
America's Choice 14 दिन पहले
The Russians were happy to have anything, frankly. The P-39 wasn't called The Clunker for nothing. It was a dated POS by 1940
killallendings 14 दिन पहले
God bless Australia and New Zealand.
TK-421 14 दिन पहले
If this is the one recovered by Syd Beck (#41-6951, nicknamed Erminie ) then the flight was flown by Flight commander Lieutenant Charlie Falletta. Falletta walked out and two months later, attacked the Emily Flying Boats that were bombed in Townsville in 1942, again flying Airacobra's. There is an ABC recording of that raid, during which one of the bombers was damaged. education.abc.net.au/home#!/media/153672/townsville-air-raid-1942 Falletta: "The aircraft was bracketed by three searchlights over the town. I believe the Australian anti-aircraft batteries on Magnetic Island were not allowed to open fire. Apparently they did not want to give away their position for just one aircraft. They were waiting for a large formation to arrive." "We got airborne and could still see the Jap in the searchlight beam. It was a large four-engined seaplane. We closed in and started shooting at it, but we could not bring it down. It was pretty difficult as our aircraft had no night flying equipment and it was my first attempt at night combat. I will never forget that flight."
Daniel Fronc
Daniel Fronc 14 दिन पहले
Bollocks does this gent have a thick Aussie accent!
Daniel Fronc
Daniel Fronc 14 दिन पहले
@Historical Aviation Film Unit Meh. You say to-may-tow, I say to-mah-toe.
Historical Aviation Film Unit
Historical Aviation Film Unit 14 दिन पहले
Nope, he does NOT! That's not an Australian accent, it's a New Zealand one. And yes, they are very different accents. Just like Americans and Canadians!
Eric Grace
Eric Grace 15 दिन पहले
The Russian air force was not seen as an independent strategic force but rather as an arm of its armoured/ ground forces....it's 37mm cannon could do one hell of a lot of damage to ground targets....and it could punch through the hull tops of tanks and mangle half tracks.
Kayraaa2 10 दिन पहले
Eric Grace Wish someone made APFSDS ammo for the 37mm.
wapartist 15 दिन पहले
That thing is awesome
Roger Worsley
Roger Worsley 15 दिन पहले
Chuck Yeager did his advanced training in P-39s, and absolutely loved the type! (UK Test pilot Eric 'Winkle' Brown was a big fan of it as well!)
1saac.exe 14 दिन पहले
The British test pilots only liked it because they were given an unarmed version of it to test. the actual p39s they received were of course armed and thus heavier, leading to the British getting a very different plane to the ones they tested. The British got rid of their p39s asap
Michael Fragala
Michael Fragala 15 दिन पहले
There’s one in Palm Springs called Pretty Polly if memory serves. There is a King Cobra H model (once again if memory serves) located in Houston that the CAF flies
trym idsal årthun
trym idsal årthun 15 दिन पहले
6:00 The 37 mil cannon and the two 50 mils on top? you sure about that?
Sejfudin Halarewicz
Sejfudin Halarewicz 14 दिन पहले
It's no 50mm it's .50 caliber aka 1/2 inch = 12.7mm
Hucfinn 16195
Hucfinn 16195 15 दिन पहले
It has a door like a car !!! Just saying !!! I really think this is a cool plane !!!
Hucfinn 16195
Hucfinn 16195 9 दिन पहले
Didn't the P38 have roll up side glass also ?
Samuel Karlsson
Samuel Karlsson 11 दिन पहले
Actually 2 doors if my memory serves me correctly. Also the windows can be rolled down like in a car! I guess the designers looked at a car while designing the plane!
kloppanator 16 दिन पहले
I wonder how the weight distribution effected turn radius.
Phantom-051 16 दिन पहले
I honestly love the look of the P-39 and P-63. I’m still a young guy, so I’ve never seen one in person or flown one in real life, but it’s still a really good looking plane.
erlycuyler 16 दिन पहले
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Snake 16 दिन पहले
My local airport has had a plane that's looked similar to this since I was a kid, could never tell if it was a recon plane or a fighter I still don't know honestly lol
Gerard Trigo
Gerard Trigo 16 दिन पहले
My friend's father was a Marine Pilot in WWII, he flew Aircobra's in Guadalcanal, before graduating to Corsairs for the remainder of the war. His job was mostly ground support and he loved the Aircobra. That 20 mm was great in that role.
America's Choice
America's Choice 14 दिन पहले
Marines and Army pilots hated it, called it The Clunker. Get real...
TheMrFailz 16 दिन पहले
"Couldn't put the 37mm cannon in the wing" and "They put it in the nose so the engine had to go somewhere else". The yak and il series would like to have a word with you.
George L
George L 2 दिन पहले
Guns were timed to propellers starting in WW1. However, higher performance props meant higher engine/prop revolutions and exceeded rates of gun fire. The answer: you can do it on some planes and cannot on others.
Sky Guard
Sky Guard 10 दिन पहले
The soviets fit a 45 mm cannon on their yak 9.
Bf109 G-4
Bf109 G-4 10 दिन पहले
Saibot Saibot they had 37mm gun pods attached under the wing, not directly in the wing. Ju 87
Saibot Saibot
Saibot Saibot 13 दिन पहले
@Gabbreil Blue Are you sure? Some versions of the Bf-109 had a gun firing though the propeller hub but for the Ju-87 I just only found mention of forward firing guns in/under the wings.
That makes for a rather thick wing. Not good on a fighter.
Random User
Random User 17 दिन पहले
She was great for a low altitudes warbird
Miguel Aguilar
Miguel Aguilar 17 दिन पहले
Pretty smart to putting the engine in the back
CANUSA Kommando
CANUSA Kommando 17 दिन पहले
A wonderful ground attack aircraft. The dirty commies made use of them.
Lobster Johnson
Lobster Johnson 17 दिन पहले
Fantastic company. The world thanks you, especially us Americans.
XXXHoodooXXX 17 दिन पहले
I flew this for 3 years. 237 kills in my career. Not a bad boom and zoom plane. Went through two PS4 controllers in this hog.
Erik Heath
Erik Heath 17 दिन पहले
Tough little bitch below 10k ft.
Airborne Artillery
Airborne Artillery 17 दिन पहले
Im just gonna guess before watching the video that the soviets loved the p39 because it has a similar layout to their yaks with a large cannon in the middle of the properler and 2 side guns on the wings and why the americans hated it because it was different than any american fighter because it had its man armaments in the middle
real heft trout 420
real heft trout 420 17 दिन पहले
Say what you will about it but it's one of the best looking aircraft ever made
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith 18 दिन पहले
I think the Russians liked it because it was warm inside with the engine right behind you. The eastern front was also a different engagement where the setup makes sense.
Craig Reeve
Craig Reeve 18 दिन पहले
That is a beautiful thing, congratulations on a superb restoration. And Who gives a shite about its characteristics, its still a piece of world war history!
David Coleman
David Coleman 18 दिन पहले
Kangaroo f****** . What do they know ! Lol
ttboy2004 18 दिन पहले
The Russians like it because of it armor was like flying a T34
Шон Из Америке
Шон Из Америке 17 दिन पहले
*flying kv1
James Norwood
James Norwood 18 दिन पहले
My dad was in the USAF. He was at Rice Calif. in 1943. Patton was doing maneuvers with his mechanized Army in the desert there as training for Operation Torch, which was to be the invasion of North Africa. I believe they went into Morocco first. At any rate, the P-39 was used in those exercises in the the desert near 29 Palms Marine base. The plane was superseded by the P-38, P-47 and later the P-51. Was lend leased to the Russians who had success against the Germans on the Eastern front. The plane, notwithstanding it's limitations as a fighter, had a quite interesting configuration. Your example is truly an amazing aeroplane relic of that war. Thanks for sharing.
Kameraden 19 दिन पहले
I often call the P39 the American BF109. It's a Tiny War Bird that can pack a punch.
Louis Warmoth
Louis Warmoth 19 दिन पहले
A very beautiful aircraft.
Michael Johnston
Michael Johnston 19 दिन पहले
Very well done! Beautiful restoration! She looks like fun to fly. I hope there will be videos of the Warhawks & Kingfishers.
AWOL's Laboratory
AWOL's Laboratory 20 दिन पहले
Did it seriously fire through the center of the crankshaft/propshaft?!
Nikolai Russelovich
Nikolai Russelovich 20 दिन पहले
If you think that's nuts look up late war German fighters and their nose cannons
darwinbruce59 20 दिन पहले
Are you going to take the p-39 down to the Warbirds over Wanaka or the Blenheim warbirds air shows. All us KIWIS would love to see the plane flying
ficklefingeroffate 20 दिन पहले
They forgot to put the propeller back on.
Irish Phoenix
Irish Phoenix 20 दिन पहले
Wicked cool! Nice to hear alot of restorations being done!
Jon Flanagin
Jon Flanagin 20 दिन पहले
Just needed a supercharger.
Socratease 1
Socratease 1 20 दिन पहले
David Arbelo
David Arbelo 20 दिन पहले
No range, poor high altitude performance and bad stall characteristics. Fast, agile, 37mm cannon, superb roll rate, good dive speed, good visibility, well armoured.
Eric Vaughn Hutchins
Eric Vaughn Hutchins 3 दिन पहले
David Arbelo
Jean Roch
Jean Roch 8 दिन पहले
@stephen v well it's not like designing an AP shell is rocket surgery.
stephen v
stephen v 8 दिन पहले
@Jean Roch The US never gave the soviets AP ammo only HE ammo
David Arbelo
David Arbelo 15 दिन पहले
The P-400 had a 20mm instead of the 37mm, but with low ammo as well. Why didn't the Russians put a 20mm ShVAK on it? Or even a 23mm cannon. I sometimes wonder that the P-39 should have had one German 30mm gun mounted, experimentally that is, either a FF MK.103 or the short barrel 108.
Jean Roch
Jean Roch 16 दिन पहले
@coffee can Yeah but to be fair, everything was slow back in the day, and not a lot of stuff could survive a 37mm shell... even today.
AS1313 20 दिन पहले
The flying. Tigers used the p40. They never dog fighter the Japanese as the would be out maneuvered. They would dive fire there six 6 fifty calibers into the Japanese aircraft and dive away gain speed and dive on the Japanese again to great results. The Japanese could not dive like the p 40. It was good the way Chennault taught fighter tactics. P39 according to Obie O’Brien marine fighter pilot was terrible and many pilots died flying it in training. The Japanese wiped them out. No one had anything good to say about it sorry for all the pilots who died flying it against the zero.
piet .1173
piet .1173 20 दिन पहले
Yeah, I'm tortured heavily by F4F in War Wings 🤣🤣🤣
Damian DeLapp
Damian DeLapp 20 दिन पहले
What a Rube Goldberg..way to complicated.. must trim beautifully, hell to service in the field..it’s sexy but uhh!
AS1313 20 दिन पहले
Meant death warrant. Every one that flew in Europe was shot down. About the same in war against the zero. It was outclassed we gave them to the Russians who were desperate for anything. They used it for ground attack they didn’t care if their pilots died or lived.
mdokuch96 20 दिन पहले
Maybe it wasn't plane's problem but of those who were flying on them? One of best Soviet aces had pretty high score on this exact plane and he liked it a lot.
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