Aviation of WWII
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Pilot`s Notes Airacobra Pilot`s Notes

Pilot`s flight operating instructions for ARMY MODEL P-39Q-1 AIRPLANE

This publication shall not be carried in aircraft on combat missions or when there is a reasonable chance of its falling into hands of the enemy.

Notice: This document contains information affecting the National Defence of the United States within the meaning of the Espionage Act, 50 U.S.C., 31 and 32, as amended. Its transmission or the revelation of its contents in any manner to an unauthorized person is prohibited by law.

  XP-39 YP-39 P-39D P-39K P-39L P-39M P-39N P-39Q
Powerplant V-1710-17 V-1710-37 V-1710-35 V-1710-63 V-1710-63 V-1710-83 V-1710-85 V-1710-85
hp-Allison 1150 1090 1150 1325 1325 1200 1200 1200
Span 35`10`` 34`0`` 34`0`` 34`0`` 34`0`` 34`0`` 34`0`` 34`0``
Length 28`8`` 29`9`` 30`2`` 30`2`` 30`2`` 30`2`` 30`2`` 30`2``
Height   9`3`` 11`10``         12`5``
Wing area
  213 213 213 213 213 213 213
Weight (lbs)
Gross 6204 6662 7830 8400 8500 8400 8200 8350
Empty   4995 6300 6400
Top speed 390 368 368 368 365 360 379 385
Cruise speed     325         88
Rate of climb
    2500         2600
Service ceiling     30,000         35,000
Range (mi.)   1560 1100 1100



a. GENERAL.- The Model P-39Q-1 Fighter Airplane is low-wing land monoplane, powered with an Allison V-1710-85 engine wich drives an Aero Products three-blade, hydraulic, selective, or automatic, controllable pitch propeller. The tricycle landing gear and split-type wing flaps are electrically controlled. The braces on the two main wheels are hydraulically operated. The over-all dimensions of the airpalane are as follows:

Length 30 feet 2 inches

Height, taxying position 9 feet 3-1/4 inches

Span 34 feet

b. ENTRANCE TO THE COCPIT. -Entrance to the cocpit is made through the automibile-type door on the right side of the cabin. The left-hand door is recomended for the entrance or exit only in case of emercency. An auxiliary latch (figure 5) is provided at the top of each door to secure it shut in flight. An emergency door release handle (figure 5) is located forward of each door.


Fuel Specification No. AN-VV-F-781 Octane 100

Oil Specification No. AN-VV-O-446

Normal Temperature Grade 1120 (SAE No.60)

Low Temperature Grade 1100 (SAE No.50)

Coolant - Ethylen Gylcol Specification No. AN-E-2


Figure 2 - Armor Plate

Sections of armor plate and armor glass are installed in front of and behind the pilot, as well as at other points in the airplane. He is protected from enemy fire within the shared areas in figure 2.


The Allison V-1710-85 engine in the P-39Q-1 airplane is a vertical "V" type, ethylene glycol cooled engine, connected with the reduction gear box in the nose of the airplane by an extension drive shaft.


a. PILOT`S SEAT. - The pilot`s seat is nonadjustable and eguipped with a conventional-type safety belt and shoulder harness with locking and unlocking adjustments. The shoulder harness lock is the lever at the left-hand side of the seat.

For freedom of movement lean forward on the shoulder harness approximately 7 inches and push control lever at side of seat to the back position. The above action locks shoulder harness in the slack position.

UPON TAKE-OFF, EMERGENCY LANDINGS, AND NORMAL LANDINGS the pilot must always secure himself in the seat by pushing forward on the control lever and leaning back in the seat, this will put tension on the shoulder harness.

CAUTION Lock the harness to the rear before all take-offs and landings.

b. AILERON AND ELEVATOR CONTROLS. - A conventional control stick is equipped with a "squeeze-type" trigger (figure 3) for firing the fuselage and wing machine guns, and a push button (figure 3) for firing the .37-mm cannon.

c. RUDDER CONTROL. - Conventional foot pedals are provided. (See figure 5.) Each pedal is equipped with toe brakes for control of either or both main wheels as desired. The pedals are adjustable to suit the leg length.

Figure 3 - Control Stick Grip

d. AILERON TRIM TAB CONTROL. - The aileron trim tab control knob (figure 8). Is Installed on the floor at the left of the pilot.

e. ELEVATOR TRIM TAB CONTROL. - The elevator trim tab control wheel (figure 8) Is located on the floor at the left of the pilot.

f. RUDDER TRIM TAB CONTROL. - The rudder trim tab control knob (figure 8) is located on the floor at the left of the pilot.

g. LANDING GEAR CONTROLS. - An electric toggle switch for control of the landing gear Is mounted to the left of the instrument panel approximately 6 inches below the plexiglas cabin enclosure. (See figure 5.) It is plainly marked "UP," "DOWN," and "OFF." A landing gear clutch handle (figure 9) and an emergency hand crank (figure 9) is located on the floor to the right ol the pilot to be used to raise or lower the landing gear in case the electric power fails. A landing gear warning light located on the tubular support at the left of the main instrument panel glows when the throttle Is cut to one-third and the landing gear is not in the locked down position.

h. HEATING AND VENTILATION. - The airplane cabin is heated or cooled by two ducts located on the cabin floor beneath the pilot's seat.

Two L-shaped control handles adjacent to one another on the floor to the right of the pilot's seat operate the butterfly flaps and regulate the temperature in the cabin. The air supply in the cabin is constant and only the temperature may be regulated. The forward control handle regulates the heat or cold from the right-hand duct, and the rear control handle (figure 9) regulates the heat or cold from the left-hand duct. Push the handles down to supply heated air. Pull the handles up to supply cold air. Intermediate adjustments of the handles will give the temperatures desired.

CAUTION In case fumes begin entering the cockpit the cockpit heater should immediately be switched to cold air. This is to prevent prestone fumes entering cockpit through hot air duct incase of burstedradiator or prestone line.

i. FUEL TANK GAGES. - The fuel gage, (figures) located on the instrument panel, is put into operation when the ignition switch (figure 5) and battery switch (figure 5) are turned "ON".

Total fuel capacity of this airplane (less auxiliary tank) is 86 U.S. gallons (71.6 Imperial gallons). No fuel gage is provided for the auxiliary tank when it is installed.

j. FUEL SELECTOR VALVE. - The fuel selector valve (figure 8), located on the floor to the left of the pilot, is the conventional type with positions for "OFF," "LEFT," "RIGHT," "RES," and "AUX" (belly tank).