Aviation of WWII
Home   Custom Search
Pilot`s Notes Airacobra Pilot`s Notes

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



The P-39Q-1 airplane is equipped with an electrically operated gun sight located In the cabin above the main instrument panel (figure 5) in line with the pilot's eyes. The gun sight is controlled by a rheostat {figure 5) located on the left-hand auxiliary switch panel.

2. GUNS.

a. DESCRIPTION. - The airplane is equipped with a 37-mm cannon located In the forward fuselage and firing, through the nose of the airplane, two .50-caliber machine guns located In the forward fuselage of the airplane and synchronized to fire through the propeller blades and two . 50-caliber machine guns located one under each wing. The cannon and machine guns are manually charged by the pilot and electrically fired from the cockpit.


.50-CALIBER FUSELAGE GUNS. - Pull the operating handle completely to the rear to charge. Release operating handle to load. (Do not hold onto handle while it is returning to the forward position.) To lock mechanism to the rear (gun safe), pull operating lever full rear and down. Lever should then stay to the rear. To return to battery position, knock lever up. After guns have been fired and barrel Is hot, do not lock action in the intermediate position. Reason: The heat of the barrel will explode the cartridge. With the gun action open this will cause flashback Into the cockpit and armament compartment.

.50-CALIBER WING GUNS. - The wing guns are manually charged before take-off. A small door in the fairing provides access to the gun charging handles (one in each wing) which are attached directly to the gun.

37-MM CANNON. - To load the 37-mm cannon on the ground, pull the charging handle once and the load-Ing handle once. This will leave a live round of ammunition in the chamber ready to fire. (H the cannon Jams In the air, pull the charging handle once and the loading handle once.)


The gun switches (toggle type) (figure 5) are located on the left-hand auxiliary switch panel; these switches select the gun to be fired. Firing Is then accomplished by depressing the trigger (figure 3) located on the forward side of the pilot's control stick. It will fire simultaneously all the guns selected by the toggle selector switches. The cannon toggle switch Is located on the left-hand auxiliary switch panel; firing is accomplished by depressing the push button located on the top of the handle of the pilot's control stick. In the event one or more guns Jam, the others will continue to operate.


Be sure all gun switches are in the "OFF" position before landing.


Provisions are made on the P-39Q-1 airplane for the optional installation of a 500- or 600-pound bomb or auxiliary fuel tank to be carried on the bottom of the airplane. The Installation consists of a bomb release handle (figure 5), "ARMED" and "SAFE" lever (figure 8) and the type B-7 bomb shackle to which the bomb or tank is attached.

a. The bomb release handle Is located on the left-hand side of the center Instrument panel. To release pull upward and aft.

b. The "ARMED" and "SAFE" lever Is located on the left-hand side of the cabin floor adjacent to the pilot's seat. The lever pushed to the forward position arms the bomb for explosion before it Is released. This lever incorporates a spring-loaded handle which must be pushed down to release the locking pin from the sector before the handle can be moved.

c. A type B-7 bomb shackle Is Installed on the lower surface of the wing center section and Includes a spring-loaded hook device which releases the bomb automatically, when the bomb release handle is pulled In the cockpit,


If it is desirable to remove a bomb after land. Ing, make certain the "ARM" and "SAFE" handle Is secured In the "SAFE" position before releasing It,



Present procedure for landing an airplane that has come through an icing region, on which Ice formation Is noticeable, is to come in with a reasonable margin speed above the stall, depending on the amount of ice carried, and land on the main wheels with the tall high. It is an essential part of the taxylng procedure, particularly on a field with slushy spots on the runways, to position all control surfaces so that they will be least subject to damage caused by pieces of ice that may be blown against them by the slip stream. Similar care must also be exercised during take-off and landing runs.

Before each take-off the de-icer system should be checked for proper operation.


(See figure 14.)

When flying in icing areas, turn on the propeller anti-icer by operating the propeller anti-icer rheostat on the right-hand instrument panel (figure 5). This causesantlicing fluid to be pumped to anti-icer boots on the propeller blades.


In cases where the windshield becomes covered with ice, sleet, or oil, a panel (figure 15) which Is located in the left-hand section of the windshield may be opened to afford clear vision. This panel Is a hinged door which opens Inboard. When not In use the panel is held closed by one small cam latch. The panel is held open by an automatic spring clip.


When the airplane is parked for the night, it Is advisable to leave the clear view windshield panel slightly opened. This is to permit the circulation of air inside the cabin which will prevent frosting up of the windows. If a cover is available, it Is a good practice also to cover the complete glass portion of the cabin assembly to prevent ice or sleet formation when the airplane is grounded.

Figure 14 - Propeller De-icer            Figure 15 - Clear View Windshield Panel