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Bell XP-76

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Bell XP-76
The Bell XP-76 was an improved variant of the P-39 Airacobra, shown here.
Type Fighter aircraft
Manufacturer Bell Aircraft Corporation
Maiden flight 1942
Introduced n/a
Status Did not enter mass-production
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 3

Bell XP-76 was a single-engine American fighter aircraft prototype of World War II.


Bell XP-76 was proposed to address the poor high-altitude performance of the P-39 Airacobra by adding a laminar flow wing and a more powerful engine. XP-76 origins lie in the 1941 project to equip three P-39D (41-19501, 41-19502 and 42-7164) with the Continental I-1430-1 liquid-cooled supercharged engine. The resultant XP-39E had a laminar flow wing with square wingtips, an elongated fuselage to accommodate the larger engine, and revised air intakes and radiators. The three prototypes each had a different tailfin. Since the Continental engine was not available at rollout, the prototypes flew with Allison V-1710-47 engines. In 1942, the XP-39E was redesignated XP-76. Although 4,000 aircraft were initially ordered, the order was cancelled to permit the Bell factory to manufacture Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers. Many of the lessons learned in the XP-76 were implemented in P-63 Kingcobra.

Specifications (XP-76)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 31 ft 11 in (9.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 35 ft 10 in (10.9 m)
  • Height: ft in (m)
  • Wing area: 236 ft² (21.9 m²)
  • Empty weight: 6,936 lb (3,150 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 8,918 lb (4,050 kg)
  • Powerplant:Continental I-1430-1, 2,100 hp (1,600 kW)



  • Guns:
  • Bombs: 500 lb (227 kg) externally

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