This Day in Aviation History
October 1st, 1942
First flight of the Bell XP-59 Aircomet.
The Bell P-59 Airacomet was the first American jet fighter aircraft, designed and built by Bell Aircraft during World War II. The United States Army Air Force was not impressed by its performance and cancelled the contract when fewer than half of the aircraft ordered had been produced. Although no P-59s went into combat, it paved the way for another design generation of U.S. turbojet-powered aircraft and was the first turbojet fighter to have its turbojet engine and air inlet nacelles integrated within the main fuselage.
Major General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold became aware of the United Kingdom’s jet program when he attended a demonstration of the Gloster E.28/39 in April 1941. The subject had been mentioned, but not in depth, as part of the Tizard Mission the previous year. He requested, and was given, the plans for the aircraft’s powerplant, the Power Jets W.1, which he took back to the U.S. On 4 September, he offered the U.S. company General Electric a contract to produce an American version of the engine. On the following day, he approached Lawrence Dale Bell, head of Bell Aircraft Corporation, to build a fighter to utilize it. Bell agreed and set to work on producing three prototypes. As a disinformation tactic, the USAAF gave the project the designation “P-59A”, to suggest….
Wikipedia, Bell P-59 Airacomet:
YouTube, Bell Aircraft P-59 Airacomet Development.mpg:
Bell Aircraft P-59 Airacomet Development.mpg
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